Invited speaker discusses cognitive benefits of exercise

HudsonAlpha welcomed Constanza J. Cortes, PhD, as an invited speaker for the Research Seminar series. Dr. Cortes is assistant professor in the department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Nick Cochran, PhD, hosted the seminar.

In her talk entitled “Muscle to Brain Axis: Exercise, CNS Aging, and Alzheimer’s Disease”, Dr. Cortes discussed her research relating to aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Cortes’ PhD work focused on autophagy induction as a means of eliminating misfolded proteins before they become amyloid plaques in the brain. This work led to her current focus on the contribution of skeletal muscle autophagy to neurodegeneration.

Dr. Cortes and her lab have discovered several interesting exercise-associated circulating factors that mediate the health benefits of exercise. Overexpression of the factors in mice improved muscle structure and function in aging mice but also improved cognitive function in the aging mice.

To learn more about Dr. Cortes’ research, visit her website here.

More information on HudsonAlpha Research Seminars, including the upcoming schedule, can be found at