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Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies

Candice Van Skike, Ph.D.


Candice Van Skike, Ph.D.

Mentor: Veronica Galvan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Cellular and Integrative Physiology
Hometown: Southwest Missouri
Undergraduate University: Missouri State University
Graduate University: Baylor University
Degrees Earned: Ph.D., Neuroscience, Statistics Minor

My Research Interests:

My research aims to identify the mechanisms involved in cerebrovascular dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease and aging. Recent work in both humans and animal models have demonstrated that cerebral blood flow (CBF) deficits emerge prior to the onset of cognitive dysfunction, suggesting that altered CBF may present an opportunity for early detection and intervention in a disease that currently has no cure. The research in the Galvan lab has identified that the mTOR pathway contributes to brain vascular dysfunction and cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease and aging; therefore inhibitors of the mTOR pathway may have potential as a therapeutic intervention in the future.

I specialize in the use of in vivo techniques, including intravital two-photon microscopy and laser Doppler flowmetry, to measure CBF, vasodilatory capacity, and blood-brain barrier integrity in mouse models of AD. I also utilize various optical microscopy techniques, protein quantification assays, and cell culture to identify the mTOR-dependent mechanisms involved in CBF dysfunction.

Why I Pursued Aging Research:

The most immediate aging-related public health concern, in my opinion, is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that robs people of their memories, cognitive abilities, and eventually of their independence. Currently 1 in 9 people over the age of 65 have AD, and since the population over age 65 is expanding at a record pace, the number of people affected by this disease will continue to grow in the coming years. Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that has no survivors, no cure for the underlying cause of disease, and very few options to treat the symptoms of AD. Since AD is currently irreversible, this means that 1 in 3 seniors will die with AD or other related dementia. These sobering statistics indicate a great and immediate research need to identify the mechanisms involved in both Alzheimer’s disease and healthy aging.

  To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association at

My Future Plans:

My ultimate goal is to continue researching Alzheimer’s disease and aging as an independent investigator at a research-focused university.

Awards and Honors:

  • 2016  Image on the cover of AGE, the official journal for the American Aging Association (now GeroScience)
  • 2016  F1000 Outstanding Presentation Prize, New York Academy of Sciences
  • 2016  Alzheimer's Disease as a Neurovascular Inflammatory Disorder Travel Award
  • 2016  American Aging Association Travel Award
  • 2015  NIA T32 Biology of Aging Training Grant, UT Health San Antonio
  • 2014 -2015  Research Society on Alcoholism Junior Investigator Award
  • 2009-2013  Research Society on Alcoholism Student Merit Award


Jahrling JB, Sayre N, Van Skike CE, Olson A, Galvan V. (In review). Attenuation of mTOR with rapamycin restores blood-brain barrier integrity and function in aging disease model. Submitted to Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.

Jahrling JB, Lin A, DeRosa N, Hussong S, Van Skike CE, Girotti M, Javors M, Zhao Q, Maslin LA, Asmis R, Galvan V (accepted). mTOR Drives Cerebral Blood Flow and Memory Deficits in LDLR-/- Mice Modeling Atherosclerosis and Vascular Cognitive Impairment. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.

Castillo-Carranza DL*, Nilson AN*, Van Skike CE, Jahrling JB, Patel K, Garach P, Gerson JE, Sengupta U, Abisambra J, Nelson P, Troncoso J, Ungvari Z, Galvan V, Kayed R (2017, accepted). Cerebral microvascular accumulation of tau oligomers in Alzheimer’s disease and related tauopathies. Aging and Disease. *Denotes equal contribution.

Matthews DB, Novier A, Diaz-Granados JL, Van Skike CE, Ornelas LC, Mittleman G (accepted). Impact of adolescent alcohol use across the lifespan: long-lasting tolerance to high dose alcohol coupled with potentiated spatial memory impairments to moderate dose alcohol. Alcohol.

Van Skike CE, Casey EM, Maggio SE, Reynolds AR, Bardo MT, Dwoskin LP, Prendergast MA, & Nixon K (2016). Critical needs in drug discovery for cessation of alcohol and nicotine polysubstance abuse. Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 65, 269-287.

Van Skike CE, Diaz-Granados JL, & Matthews DB (2015). Chronic intermittent ethanol exposure produces persistent anxiety in adolescent and adult rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39 (2), 262-271.

Ornelas LC, Novier A, Van Skike CE, Diaz-Granados JL, & Matthews DB (2015). The effects of acute ethanol on motor impairments in adolescent, adult, and aged rats. Alcohol, 49 (2), 121-126.

Squeglia LM, Boissoneault J, Van Skike CE, Nixon SJ, & Matthews DB (2014). Differential effects of alcohol across the lifespan: Recent insights from adolescent, adult, and aged populations using human and animal models. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38 (10), 2509-2516.

Complete list of published work in My Bibliography:

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