Team of Biology Professor Stephan Sigrist reveals significance of autophagy for memory performance in old age

Humans are not only capable of forming memories but also recalling these memories years later. However, with advancing age many of us face difficulties with forming new memories, a process usually referred to as age-induced memory impairment. Developing an elaborate understanding of this process is a precondition for preventing age-related pathologies at neuronal level. In a recent publication, the team of Stephan Sigrist at Freie Universität Berlin and the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence shows that autophagy, a cellular self-clearing program, has to be kept efficient specifically within the memory forming neurons in order to keep the whole brain in a protected state. Stephan Sigrist holds an Einstein Professorship supported by the Einstein Foundation. NeuroCure is a Cluster of Excellence based at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the medical school operated jointly by Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Since 2007, NeuroCure has been funded through the German government’s Excellence Initiative, and in 2018 it won funding in the follow-up competition, the German Excellence Strategy.