Health and Exercise Science student recognized for research on the aging process of the brain

Aly Cavalier smiles next to her research poster.

Aly Cavalier, a graduate student in Colorado State University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science, has worked to study the aging process of the brain, seeking to protect the agency of older adults. Cavalier’s research has resulted in the Excellence in Research and Scholarship award at CSU’s Graduate Student Showcase, one of five awarded by the College of Health and Human Sciences, as her research works to help individuals live longer, healthier lives. 

What inspired you to conduct this research?  

I am very interested in helping people live healthier lives for longer. More specifically, I am interested in what happens in the brain during the aging process and how we can keep the brain healthier for longer as we age, and hopefully protect the independence and agency of older adults. 

Knowing what happens in the brain with aging is important because it can provide potential therapeutic targets. This project aimed to investigate the potential protective role of apigenin, a chemical found in plants like chamomile, on cognitive function during aging. 

What impact do you hope this research will have?  

Through this project, I have tried to identify the gene expression changes that occur with aging and those that are reversed with apigenin treatment. The hope is that I can identify genes/biological processes that relate to the aging process and negatively impact health/longevity, determine the relevant genes/proteins in those pathways, and isolate the specific markers that apigenin targets. 

Ultimately, I want to gather evidence to support apigenin supplementation as a potential anti-aging treatment to protect brain health for older adults. 

What does receiving this award mean to you?  

It means a lot for my work to be recognized as meaningful and important. Of course, as a researcher, I think my work is incredibly valuable, but it is so very special to me that others in my community also think that my research is important.

The recognition from this award inspires me to continue pursuing my research goals, despite any obstacles so that I can provide meaningful contributions to the field of brain aging research. 

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.