Alzheimer’s Team Gets $7.5 Million Grant

Contact: Allison Elliott

Photo of Philip Landfield
Philip Landfield

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In the next phase of the project, slated to take place over the next five years, some of the team will use innovative microarray chip technology to study the simultaneous activity of thousands of genes in brain components as small as a single neuron, using a single-cell extraction process invented and patented by the UK research team.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 13, 2004) -- The success and potential of a University of Kentucky research team has been recognized by the awarding of a $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to aid in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. The grant is one of the largest ever awarded to UK faculty solely for research.

Led by Philip Landfield, professor and chair of the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, UK College of Medicine, the researchers have been working together for over a decade to better understand and combat Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative condition.

"The renewal of our funding includes a large increase over funding in the prior phase and is in recognition of the progress made thus far by this interdisciplinary group of scientists, as well as the potential of the research proposed for the next phase," said Landfield.

Members of the research team are drawn from diverse areas of the university, including the departments of Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Chemistry, as well as the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center. The focus of the team’s research is how calcium regulation in the brain changes with aging and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and how these changes interact with gene expression and oxidative stress in the brain.

In the next phase of the project, slated to take place over the next five years, some of the team will use innovative microarray chip technology to study the simultaneous activity of thousands of genes in brain components as small as a single neuron, using a single-cell extraction process invented and patented by the UK research team. This technology will enable the researchers to link gene changes to impaired functions of individual neurons with high resolution.

“Microarray chips will do for biological research what integrated circuits and silicon chips did for electronics,” said Landfield.

In addition to patenting the neuron extraction process, the research team has a patent pending for certain groups of genes that appear to be “biomarkers” or indexes of the rate of aging or Alzheimer’s disease progression and therefore may be keys to identifying the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. The grant will fund the team’s research into 2009.


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