University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Laboratory of Endocrinology, Aging and Disease (LEAD)

Atwood Lab

Reproductive Cell-Cycle Theory of Aging

Research in the LEAD laboratory is based on the Reproductive Cell-Cycle Theory of Aging that posits that the hormones that regulate reproduction act in an antagonistic pleiotropic manner to control aging via cell cycle signaling. In essence, the reproductive hormones that promote growth and development early in life in order to achieve reproduction, become dysregulated later in life and drive senescence via altered cell cycle signaling. The theory has significant explanatory power for how and why we age at the molecular, physiological and evolutionary levels.

Active Research Projects:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: The LUCINDA Trial: LeUprolide plus Cholinesterase Inhibition to reduce Neurological Decline in Alzheimer's. This clinical trial will test if leuprolide acetate (Eligard), a drug used to treat prostate cancer and endometriosis, is efficacious and safe for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease in women.
  • Aging: A major focus of our laboratory is to slow the aging process by maintaining or restoring sex hormone balance. To achieve this goal, we are developing a range of stem cell products, which when implanted into individuals, will rebalance circulating sex hormone levels.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Our laboratory is testing whether the neurogenic hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, promotes regeneration and cognitive performance following a TBI.