Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects over 5 million people in the U.S. and is considered the third-leading cause of death. Alzheimer’s-afflicted individuals suffer profound, progressive memory decline, often accompanied by behavioral and language problems. AD-related care is estimated to cost 250 billion dollars per year and is emotionally devastating to friends and family. Despite more than 100 years of research, there are still no disease-modifying therapies.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a complex condition requiring doctors and scientists of many disciplines to unravel its manifold risk factors and comorbidities. It is linked to frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, & Parkinson’s disease-plus disorders. Aging and comorbidities like addiction, hoarding and sleep disturbances, are all implicated in poor outcomes for dementia patients. Understanding connections between AD and other dementias, and the risk factors and comorbidities associated with them, could offer insights into the disease and afford novel targets for patient care.
Clinical and Translational Pre-Doctoral Training in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD)
Trainees appointed in the ADRD T32 program will gain the knowledge and support necessary to tackle the complexities presented by AD and related neurodegenerative diseases. Upon completion, students will be positioned to make significant scientific advances in the treatment of these devastating disorders.
The training program will provide trainees with a fundamental understanding of:
- Cellular/molecular, circuit and cognitive/behavioral aspects of ADRD
- Core challenges found at the intersection between basic and clinical research
- Aging as a key risk factor for ADRD
- Psychiatric and neurological comorbidities prevalent in ADRD
The training program structure will facilitate these comprehensions by:
- Fostering communication between trainees and mentors with diverse expertise relevant to ADRD
- Providing core training on research methodology, data analysis and transparency in reporting
- Facilitating familiarity with NIA’s large-scale collaborative consortia, such as ADNI, M2OVE AD and AMP-AD, as well as integrating these datasets into individual research programs
- Emphasizing professional development and equipping trainees with fundamental skills and confidence in grant writing; oral and written presentations and networking
- Establishing mentored training enhancement opportunities to lay the foundation for trainees to become scientists conducting informed & creative discovery-based, translational research that will lead to improved outcomes in ADRD
Meet the Directors:
Dr. Jada Lewis is the co-deputy director of the McKnight Brain Institute and a professor in UF’s department of neuroscience. Her research is focused on creating, characterizing and utilizing genetically manipulated models of diseases of the brain and spinal cord, or “neurodegenerative diseases.” These neurodegenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Dr. Lewis serves on the MBI Executive Committee.
Dr. Jennifer Bizon is a professor in the departments of neuroscience and psychiatry at the University of Florida, College of Medicine. Her research program is broadly focused on understanding brain aging and its implications for cognitive function. Specifically, her laboratory employs an integrative approach that combines sensitive cognitive assessments with molecular, pharmacological and optogenetic methodologies. Dr. Bizon serves as the associate chair of department of neuroscience and on the MBI Executive Committee.
Dr. Paramita Chakrabarty is an Assistant Professor in Neuroscience. She received her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, India) on functional characterization of calcium binding proteins in intestinal parasites. Following this, she shifted gears to train in neuroscience as she became intrigued by how the brain function declines during aging, especially investigating what triggers age-related sporadic neurodegenerative diseases. She completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Washington and the Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville). She rose through the ranks at the University of Florida and established her independent lab where her broad focus is investigating the role of neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.