My name is Bernardo Aguzzoli Heberle, and I am a third-year PhD candidate at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, working in the lab of Mark Ebbert, PhD. From a young age, I witnessed the devastating effects of Alzheimer's disease on my family. Both of my grandfathers were diagnosed with this cruel ailment when I was around six years old. The toll it took on my loved ones left a mark on me. The suffering they endured motivated me to embark on a path to better understand Alzheimer's disease and, hopefully, contribute to finding solutions.

Originally from Porto Alegre, Brazil, I had an unusual passion for basketball—instead of soccer—while growing up. This passion led me to participate in a high-school exchange program in the United States, where I had the opportunity to not only pursue my love for basketball, but also immerse myself in a new culture and educational system. After my high-school exchange program ended I went back to Brazil and decided to apply for college in the United States. I was fortunate to receive academic scholarships to the University of Kentucky where I started as a Computer Science major and ended up graduating with a Neuroscience degree, laying the foundation for my future research endeavors.

Now, as a PhD candidate in neuroscience at the University of Kentucky, I have the privilege of being a part of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, where we are at the forefront of Alzheimer's disease research. Our work at the Ebbert Lab combines computational approaches with cutting-edge long-read sequencing technologies to enhance our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and identify new targets for early diagnostics and treatment. My specific research project focuses on the role of RNA isoforms in Alzheimer's disease. We are currently starting to sequence RNA from hundreds of postmortem brain samples. This study is particularly exciting as it offers the potential to uncover critical insights into the disease's mechanisms. RNA isoforms play a significant role in gene regulation, and understanding their involvement in Alzheimer's disease could provide valuable insights for future therapeutic interventions.

In my journey as a researcher, I am driven by the memory of my grandfathers and the hope that my work may contribute to alleviating the suffering of countless families affected by Alzheimer's disease. The support and resources available at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging have been instrumental in my growth as a researcher, allowing me to pursue my passion and make strides in the fight against this devastating condition. I'm especially grateful for those who donated their brains after passing away, enabling us to gain deeper insights into Alzheimer's disease mechanism.

In conclusion, my trajectory as a researcher and person has been shaped by personal experiences, a love for basketball, and a strong desire to make a difference in the field of Alzheimer's disease research. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had and the support of my mentors and colleagues at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. As I continue my PhD journey, I remain dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of Alzheimer's disease and working towards a better future for those affected by it.