We are pleased to share five research studies which are being funded through the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant. Each of these projects has the potential to transform Alzheimer’s disease outcomes. Below is a list of the successful applications along with a brief description of their projects. Congratulations to all the winners!
Analyzing Inter-Individual Variation in the Ageing Brain
Researcher: Dr. Sophia Frangou
Project description: This project will use large-scale datasets to identify environmental factors that can accelerate or delay brain aging. The goal of this research is to develop a new set of research and clinical tools to help identify individuals who might benefit from early intervention to delay or prevent age-related brain deterioration that can be seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
Understanding the Influence of Genetics and Sex Differences in Alzheimer’s Risk
Research team: Drs. Liisa Galea, Annie Ciernia and Cheryl Wellington
Project description: This project started last year and has received renewed funding. So far the team has found different temporal dynamics in the regulation of the hippocampus’s capacity to form new neurons in adulthood. They will now look at whether a certain genotype and immune system signalling play a role in these observed differences.
Developing a Behavioural Biomarker for Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis
Research team: Drs. Manu Madhav and Thalia Field
Project description: This research team is looking to determine navigational deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease, an early marker of the disease. Human and animal models will take part in a physical maze that will become increasingly complex. The researchers will determine when study participants’ navigation capabilities become impaired, which would be the threshold at which brain dysfunction is evident. The end goal is to offer a diagnostic tool that can reliably detect the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tracking the Impact of Multi-sensory Brain Stimulation on Alzheimer’s Disease
Research team: Drs. Tim Murphy and Mark Cembrowski
Project description: Using state-of-the-art probes and mRNA analysis, this team will continue to characterize the firing activity and gene-expression properties of specific neurons across different brain regions in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. In this way, they hope to associate disease-related changes to specific cell types and gene expression, which would provide more specific targets for therapy.
Analyzing Transcriptome Changes in Human 2D and 3D models of Alzheimer’s Disease
Research team: Drs. Terry Snutch and Haakon Nygaard
Project description: This project is looking to understand why clearing the brain of amyloid-beta deposits doesn’t resolve the clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, despite evidence that amyloid-beta plays a key role in disease development. By better understanding target molecules driving the expression of this protein, there are better opportunities to develop effective therapies.