Research at the McKnight Brain Institute involves an inter-disciplinary collaboration across departments and programs at the University of Miami. This includes neuroepidemiology, neuro-ophthalmology, neuropsychology, psychiatry, aging, physical therapy, sleep disorders, neurology and cell biology, radiology and human genetics. We also collaborate on research initiatives with the McKnight Brain Institutes at the University of Alabama, University of Florida and the University of Arizona.
Clinical and Population-based Research
Our research includes healthy aging adults, adults with age-related memory and cognitive decline, frail elders, oldest-old adults, dementias, black and Hispanic populations and stroke patients. Some of our research areas are: mild cognitive impairment (MCI) vs. normal aging, early cognitive and functional impairment in the elderly, neuropsychological testing and subjective memory complaints, age-related cognitive changes, post-stroke exercise and cognitive training as well as traumatic brain injury and cognition. Additionally, research methods for studying cognitive impairment in chronic migraines, cortical excitability and plasticity using non-invasive brain stimulation, ocular microvascular dysfunction in age-related dementia, sleep and cognition, frailty and caregiver burden are being explored.
Basic and Translational Science
Our basic and translational science research comprises studies on the effects of physical exercise on white matter disease in aged rats, the effects of an enriched environment and exercise on ischemic damage and cognitive abilities in animal models and markers of white matter disease with translational potential for monitoring vascular cognitive impairment. Other disease areas include genetic factors influencing white matter and cognition in relation to aging and animal imaging techniques exploring the effects of diabetes on brain synapses. We also have researchers examining mitochondria and its effect on human neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders and the aging process as well as epigenetic mechanisms and the regulation of brain function using transgenic mouse models.