Aging Effects on the Statistical and Structural Properties of the Fornix of the Brain

Speaker: João Ricardo Santos

When: December 9, 2016 (Fri), 04:00PM to 05:00PM (add to my calendar)
Location: SCI 328

This event is part of the PhD Final Oral Exams.

Examining Committee: H.E. Stanley, Douglas L. Rosene (Dept. of Anatomy and Neurobiology), Shyamsunder Erramilli, Kenneth Rothschild, William Skocpol


The fornix of the brain is a bundle of axons crucial for memory functions, as it is the largest pathway linking the hippocampus with distal brain sites. During the normal aging process, myelinated axons (or nerve fibers) in the fornix area of the rhesus monkey brain decrease in number with age. Myelin degeneration also increases with age. Understanding axons at the ultrastructural level is a critical issue for understanding the human connectome. In this presentation, we present a new method to identify and quantify differences in myelinated axons and their surrounding myelin sheath. This method uses statistical physics tools to characterize properties ranging from morphologic characteristics of individual fibers to macroscopic and structural properties of collections of fibers and their spatial relationships. This allows quantification of their differences and improves on traditional measures, such as packing density and fiber size.