What was your subject? Get any interesting follow-up questions?
It was about proteins that make synaptic connections resilient to Alzheimer's Disease pathology. I think you'll have heard of amyloid plaques before - the huge lumps of sticky protein that are required for a post-mortem diagnosis of Alzheimer's. It turns out that about a third of people over the age of 65 have levels of amyloid that would be diagnosed as Alzheimer's at autopsy, but they actually don't have any cognitive impairment whatsoever. These people tend to have the same number of synapses (the sight where two neurons communicate) as people without any amyloid, whereas people with amyloid and cognitive impairment start to lose them. So I took a bunch of tissue from 100 brains, enriched for the synaptic compartment and used proteomics to quantify about ~5000 proteins associated with the synapse, then related the proteins to either the extent of amyloid in the brain, or the cognitive performance of the person. And found some cool proteins! Follow ups were all technical things I could easily answer, and feedback since then has been great!
Guess I should really finish writing the paper!
Cool! So the idea is there's something in the 1/3 with amyloid protecting them from impairment? Or maybe the opposite - some protein unique to impairment that's not strictly the amyloid itself?