Olivier Thibault Ph.D.

This video shows layer 2/3 somatosensory neurons flickering (GCaMP8f) in response to ambulation.

Welcome to the Thibault research group at the University of Kentucky

While the lab started focusing on neuronal calcium dysergulation in aging and investigating interactions with peripheral metabolic diseases as seen in diabetes and hyperlipidemia, we moved quickly into studies directly investigating the impact of insulin on neuronal calcium.

We have always relied on behavioral, electrophysiological, molecular, as well as calcium and glucose imaging techniques to identify alterations in neuronal function during aging and in Alzheimer's disease animal models.

We have now published close to 10 manuscripts investigating the role of insulin signaling on cognitive function in brain aging and have recently focused on an alternative approach to using intranasal insulin delivery. We have modified the beta subunit of the insulin receptor and are able to raise insulin signaling in vivo using AAV delivery.  The results are exciting and were just published in 2020.

Very recently, new projects have spawned from our work, and have began investigating new modalities that may show insulin sensitivity in the brain. We are currently testing the hypothesis that age-dependent alterations in gait and movement can be redressed with intranasal insulin therapy. We hope to make an impact on brain aging research by focusing on mechanisms at play in the somatosensory cortex that contribute to the increase fall risk in the elderly. We are using in vivo 2-photon imaging (Scientifica) during tactile activation to characterize neruonal calcium networks in young and aged animals. We very recently embarqued on a series of experiments investigating insulin receptor overexpression and reduction on the membrane of astrocytes, using the 5xFAD animal model of amyloidosis.