Alzheimer’s Association Awards Research Grants to BUSM Scientists

The Alzheimer’s Association has awarded two BUSM investigators 2016 Research Grants to support their work studying various aspects of the disease.

“The only way we will achieve a world without Alzheimer’s is through research. The funding to Drs. DeLeo and Satizabal not only supports this critical project, but is part of a broader Alzheimer’s Association effort to keep the best and brightest scientists working on this disease,” said Jim Wessler, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter, at the ceremonial check presentation held at BUSM on Dec. 5.

Claudia Satizabal, PhD and Annina DeLeo, PhD
(L to r) Claudia Satizabal, PhD and Annina DeLeo, PhD

Postgraduate Fellow Annina DeLeo, PhD, proposed a series of studies to determine how exosomes may contribute to the spread of tau tangles in the brain. She and her colleagues hope to identify the proteins in the exosome that allow it to bind to other nerve cells and spread tau tangles. Their research could improve understanding of how exosomes in the brain impact the development of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and other neurological diseases.

Neurology Instructor Claudia Satizabal, PhD, will work to understand how mid-life obesity relate to a person’s risk of developing AD later in life. Using participants from the Framingham Heart Study, she and her colleagues will examine how brain changes associated with AD may relate to indicators of obesity. Their research could shed light on understudied consequences of mid-life obesity on brain function during aging.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research in the world, having awarded more than $375 million to fund over 2,400 scientific investigations. Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.