Alzheimer’s disease

Role of presenilin in dendritic spine formation
2007 Seed Grant
Gopal Thinakaran, Ph.D.
The University of Chicago

Alzheimer’s disease, the major cause of dementia in the elderly, affects over 5 million Americans.  It is estimated that this devastating disorder strikes someone in America every 72 seconds.  Unless an effective treatment or a cure is discovered, it is estimated that 7.7 million Americans will have the disease by 2030, and the numbers could climb to as high as 16 million by 2050.  There is a pressing need to develop new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.  Dr. Gopal Thinakaran, Department of Neurobiology, will focus on a protein that is mutated in early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Presenilin 1.  Dr. Thinakaran’s research proposal involves the characterization of mice where human Alzheimer’s disease causing mutation has been introduced into mouse Presenilin 1 protein.  His hypothesis is that Alzheimer’s disease causing mutations in Presenilin 1 lead to cognitive problems by affecting the basic synaptic machinery, especially the remodeling of synaptic connectivity in the neuronal network, which is critical for the dynamic process of learning and memory.  Dr. Thinakaran’s studies will provide important information to advance treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Other Grants

Sarah C. Goetz, Ph.D., Duke University
Uncovering a Novel Role for Primary Cilia in Eph/Ephrin Signaling in Neurons
2022 Seed GrantSarah C. Goetz, Ph.D. Duke University Women’s Council Seed Grant Primary cilia are tiny projections from cells that function like an antenna- they receive and may also send…
Erin M. Gibson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Circadian Regulation of Oligodendroglial Senescence and Metabolomics in Aging
2022 Seed GrantErin M. Gibson, Ph.D.Stanford University The brain consists of two main classes of cells, neurons and glia. Glia make-up more than half of the cells in the brain…
Yvette Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Dynamic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity During Spatial Exploration
2022 Seed GrantYvette Fisher, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley The Virginia (Ginny) & Roger Carlson Seed Grant Cognitive flexibility is critical for appropriately adjusting thoughts and behaviors to meet changing demands…
Byoung Il Bae, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Unique Vulnerability of Developing Human Cerebral Cortex to Loss of Centrosomal Protein
2022 Seed GrantByoung Il Bae, Ph.D.University of Connecticut Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Seed Grant The cerebral cortex is the largest and outermost part of the human brain. It is…