Associate Professor, Translational Science & Molecular Medicine
Ph.D., 2000, Emory University
The goal of Dr. Counts’ research is to understand the molecular pathogenic mechanisms of selective neuronal vulnerability in AD. Specific topics of interest include gene regulation within vulnerable projection neurons of cholinergic basal forebrain, noradrenergic locus coeruleus, and glutamatergic medial temporal lobe circuits, differential gene regulation in familial and sporadic AD, mechanisms of neurogenetic protection during AD progression, and the discovery of potential cerebrospinal fluid AD biomarkers. These studies are addressed by combining state-of-the-art functional genomic approaches with autopsied tissue from subjects who died with a clinical diagnosis of NCI, MCI, or AD. This allows us the unique opportunity to correlate our findings with clinical pathologic variables collected for these subjects. Dr. Counts also incorporates preclinical transgenic mouse and cell culture models to analyze his human tissue findings mechanistically. Bridging insights into the molecular pathology of AD with current knowledge of clinical disease and human neuropathology is critical for advancing translational research into disease-modifying therapeutics.