Awards for New Ideas in Alzheimer’s Research: Learn about the ADRC Development Project Awards 2023-2024

March 30, 2023

Science Updates, News

Congratulations to Yeilim Cho, MD, Angela Hanson, MD, Tomas Vaisar, PhD, Mehmet Kurt, PhD, and Andrew B. Stergachis, MD, PhD, FACMG for receiving ADRC Development Project awards. These researchers will use ADRC resources to pursue new projects ranging in topic from obstructive sleep apnea to more precise ways to detect Alzheimer's risk. These projects use ADRC resources to advance the understanding, diagnosis, and/or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.


Yeilim Cho, MD

Defining the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and MRI measures of glymphatic dysfunction 

Yeilim Cho, MD, MIRECC Advanced Fellow, Veterans Affairs VISN-20 Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center 

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common sleep-related breathing disorder. This disorder causes a person to repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep.  Standard-of-care treatment for obstructive sleep apnea  involves using a CPAP device that uses positive pressure to keep the airway open during sleep. This clinical experimental study will evaluate whether CPAP therapy improves measures of glymphatic clearance, which is the brain's way of clearing out waste during sleep. The team will assess glymphatic clearance in study participants using non-invasive brain imaging.

Evidence suggests that a slowing of glymphatic function during sleep is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease-related amyloid, tau, and a synuclein pathology. By studying the impact of sleep apnea on the brain, this ADRC project may strengthen our understanding of the link between sleep disruption and the development of Alzheimer’s pathology. Cho's team will collaborate with Swati Rane, PhD, of the ADRC-affiliated Integrated Brain Imaging Center and Suman Jayadev, MD, of the ADRC Clinical Core.


Tomas Vaisar, PhD

Angela Hanson, MD

Heterogeneity of brain lipoprotein particles in Alzheimer’s disease

Angela Hanson, MD, Assistant Professor, UW Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, UW School of Medicine

Tomas Vaisar, PhD, Research Professor and Director, Proteomics and Bioinformatics Core, Diabetes Research Center, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, Department of Internal Medicine, UW School of Medicine

Lipoproteins in the brain are important molecules that protect brain from accumulation of amyloid plaques, a hallmark Alzheimer's disease pathology. Alterations to lipoproteins play an important role in multiple pathologies leading to Alzheimer's diease. In this project, Hanson and Vaisar will carefully characterize lipoproteins in the cerebrospinal fluid from individuals with Alzheimer's disease compared to those with no disease. The study will reveal a detailed picture of lipoproteins in the cerebrospinal fluid and their state in Alzheimer's disease, and may identify novel candidates for biomarkers of Alzheimer's risk. Hanson and Vaisar will recruit ADRC clinical core study participants for this study.


Mehmet Kurt, PhD

Investigating in-vivo brain mechanical properties as Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers through multifrequency MR Elastography

Mehmet Kurt, PhD,  Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UW

A brain imaging technology called multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) enables researchers to measure the biomechanical properties of  brain regions in living people. Biomechanical properties of brain tissue are measures such as the density of cells and blood vessels, the presence of inflammation, or the amount of myelin fibers that enable nerve cells to transmit information in the brain. Researchers have used these measures to diagnose pathologies such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. In this ADRC project, Mehmet Kurt will establish optimized MRE technology at the UW ADRC to study people living with Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment. Ultimately, understanding the patterns of biomechanics in Alzheimer's disease might provide a tool for studies aimed at understanding Alzheimer's pathologies and developing better treatment options. Kurt will collaborate with the UW ADRC Data Management and Statistics Core and Swati Rane, PhD, of the ADRC-affiliated Integrated Brain Imaging Center.


Andrew B. Stergachis, MD, PhD, FACMG

Resolving Alzheimer’s disease risk loci using phased long-read chromatin maps

Andrew B. Stergachis, MD, PhD, FACMG, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences, Division of Medical Genetics, UW

Alzheimer’s disease risk is strongly influenced by genetics. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 95 locations in the human genome associated with risk for late-onset Alzheimer's disease.  In this ADRC project, Stergachis will  explore how the genetic variants contained with these locations are associated with Alzheimer's risk. This study aims to describe the full extent of disruption to gene regulatory patterns within the regions of the human genome linked to Alzheimer's risk, providing a better understanding of the mechanisms of Alzheimer's genetic risk. This study will use frozen brain tissue stored within the UW ADRC Precision Neuropathology Core.