On Wednesday, Dec. 20, Assistant Professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology Karin Schon, PhD, was awarded nearly $150,000 by the MA/NH Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for her research, “Perceived Racism as a Chronic Stressor and Cognition in Black Seniors.”
Schon and her colleagues have proposed a series of studies to explore how chronic stress arising from racism affects the brain structure and function in people of African ancestry. They will study a group of older African Americans living in Boston, as well as people of African ancestry living in the Virgin Islands where people of African ancestry represent the racial majority and presumably encounter less racial discrimination.
The research aims to generate important hypotheses about the role of racial discrimination in inducing brain changes associated with early Alzheimer’s disease. The concept behind this research stemmed from conversations with Michael Rosario, an intern from the University of the Virgin Islands who worked in Schon’s lab through the Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) Program in 2016. Today, he is a first-year PhD student in the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences and will be conducting this work as part of his dissertation research.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research in the world, having awarded more than $375 million to more than 2,400 scientific investigations. Its mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.