• Project Title: Improving the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease through Ultrasonic Disruption of the Blood-Brain Barrier

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Nancy Fisher

  • Internship Location: George Mason University Krasnow Institute

  • Onsite Mentor: Professor Robert J. Cressman

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the purpose of this project was to determine whether the combination of focused ultrasound and polymer breakdown in the blood could effectively dehydrate the endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier and thereby increase the barrier’s permeability. Ultimately, safe and effective penetration of the blood-brain barrier would enable greater amounts of beta-amyloid antibodies to cross from blood vessels into the brain parenchyma. As a result, the protein plaques that develop around neurons in Alzheimer’s disease would be, to a large extent, eliminated. Since the global pandemic restricted access to laboratory equipment, the project objective had to be revised. The new goal of this project is to better understand the experiment that would have been conducted at George Mason University’s Krasnow Institute. This will require an extensive literature review on laboratory equipment, past research, and any biological and physical mechanisms that would have been present throughout the experiment. The final product of the project will be a research paper delineating the specifics of this experiment that was initially meant to be done.