Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2017
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Tony Wyss-Coray (Neurology & Neurological Sciences) and Joshua Elias (Chemical & Systems Biology)

Research Title: Proteomics of Brain Aging, Disease, and Rejuvenation in the CSF

Research Description: Brain aging is a complex process that causes Alzheimer’s disease, but the nature of this causation is obscured by a lack of understanding of brain aging itself. Part of this problem is that not all time-associated changes matter; rejuvenation of the old brain by exposure to young blood promises a way to study functional aging in reverse. Steven is examining chemical changes in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) with aging and with rejuvenation in order to shed light on functional brain aging. In the brain, neurons, support cells, and immune cells send signal proteins between them that are characteristic of the brain’s age and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease; with sensitive detection techniques, these signal proteins can be detected in CSF, but many are still unknown. Steven will use modern mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis on CSF from young and old mice and humans, as well as rejuvenated mice, to discover signal proteins that are important in functional brain aging. These proteins will be analyzed in CSF from Alzheimer’s patients to identify final candidates, which will be individually studied in order to further understand brain rejuvenation and identify opportunities for Alzheimer’s disease treatment.


Steven is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Gygi Laboratory in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. The Gygi Lab develops novel methodologies in mass spectrometry-based proteomics.