Illustration of dementia

With an estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s, researchers at Rutgers University–Camden are investigating what causes the cellular impairment that prompts disease, both in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients. Biologist Maria Solesio is studying mitochondria, the power centers of neurons in the brain. “We are trying to understand why mitochondria fail in neurodegeneration,” says Solesio, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology. “Mitochondria can get damaged at different levels in active diseases.” By describing mechanisms that damage mitochondria, Solesio and her team, working with grants totaling $1 million, could help researchers trained in drug discovery find pathways to counteract the damage, resulting in life-changing treatments.