Project Title: Spatial Learning and Acute Activation of the Immune System in Aging

Faculty Sponsor: Barbara Kupferschmid

Department: Nursing



Project Description: Acute infections in the elderly, such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia, can result in deleterious consequences, including changes in cognition.  We seek to understand the impact of infections on cognition in aging models in order to more fully understand the implications of acute infections in the elderly.  The objectives of the studies are as follows:

1.  To quantify the sickness responses, including food and water intake and weight, via daily measurements.

2. To assess spatial learning measures, such as directional heading error, swim time, path length, and average speed, through a six day assessment in the Morris water maze.

3. To measure plasma levels of cytokines and CRP.

We are analyzing the cognitive and other changes experienced by aged rats after they were administered intraperitoneal Lipopolysaccharide (LPS). 

Student Tasks & Responsibilities: Students will be involved in data entry and analysis.  Student will also work with data collected via video tracking (ANY-maze).  This will involve learning the program and retrieving specific data.  Students will conduct literature search.  Project may extend over several semesters.   

Minimum Qualifications: Good time management.  Good communication skills.  Attention to detail.  Consideration given to students in health professions.