Research & Publications
Currently, Dr. Benveniste's research program has several areas of focus. Foremost, she and her students, post-docs, and close scientific collaborators are interested in understanding how the brain gets rid of metabolic waste products via the ‘glymphatic system’ (GS). Benveniste is engaged in preclinical MRI studies to understand how the brain’s waste removal pathways are affected in cerebral amyloid angiopathy, AD and small vessel disease; in collaboration with MR colleagues from the MRRC. For example, she has developed imaging platforms to examine how cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulates in the brain and explored how several critical processes (e.g. vascular pulsatility, type of anesthesia, body position) impact waste removal across the adult lifespan. Furthermore, she has identified substantial differences in waste processing via CSF transport when the brain is exposed to lighter sedation versus deeper anesthetic states and is currently examining the sources of these differences. Second, Benveniste and her colleague Dr. Hedok Lee (MR physicist) are interested in understanding how defects in the waste clearing processes may be contributing to development of cognitive decline and dementia. To that end, they have conducted (and are in the process of conducting) preclinical experiments in transgenic rodent models of small vessel disease (vascular dementia) as well as Alzheimer’s disease. In recent studies they have discovered that the waste clearing processes appear to become defect before brain tissue loss is evident potentially reflecting the importance of the GS system as a therapeutic target in maintaining brain health across the lifespan. In addition, Benveniste has active clinical research interests in addiction to substances of abuse and is actively involved conducting several collaborative studies with colleagues at NIAAA and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Anesthesia; Brain; Central Nervous System; Cerebrospinal Fluid