2017 BrightFocus Research Grants Awards

BrightFocus Foundation has a history of supporting cutting-edge research into Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

 

Brightfocus-funded researcher Daniel Saban, PhD in a lab

 

Alzheimer's Disease

Guided by the recommendations of our Alzheimer's Disease Research Scientific Review Committee, we are pleased to announce $8.4 million for 38 new Alzheimer's research grants.  Leading scientists from around the world will begin research projects to develop new drugs, gain greater insight into protein changes in the brain, and better understand how the disease develops and progresses.

A New Way to Image Amyloid Plaque Growth in Human AD
Randall Bateman, MD
Washington University (Saint Louis, MO)

How Atherosclerosis Affects Brain Structure, Cognitive Function, and Dementia
Daniel Bos, PhD
Erasmus Medical Center (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Discovering Factors That Cause Tau to Change
Kathryn Bowles, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY)

TDP-43 Depletion as a Risk Factor for Tau Pathology in Alzheimer’s
Resham Chhabra, PhD
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

Alzheimer’s in the Human Brain: Focusing on One Neuron at a Time
Inma Cobos, MD, PhD
UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Neuroimaging to Understand Delusions and Hallucinations in Alzheimer's
Ryan Darby, MD
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

BIN1 as a Genetic Risk Factor in AD Pathology
Pierre De Rossi, PhD
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Slowing AD by Enhancing Cellular Clearance
Karen Duff, PhD
Columbia University (New York, NY)

A New Tool to Monitor Tau Aggregates in the Brain
Sarah DeVos, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University (Boston, MA)

Understanding the Interplay between Sleep and AD
Sarah Fritschi, PhD
Washington University School of Medicine (Saint Louis, MO)

A Neuroimaging Biomarker for Asymptomatic AD
Lea Grinberg, MD, PhD
University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

How Proteins Contribute to Alzheimer’s Pathology and Spread
Chadwick Hales, MD, PhD
Emory University (Atlanta, GA)

Modulating Brain Cholesterol to Treat AD
Mar Hernandez-Guillamon, PhD
Vall de Hebron Research Institute (Barcelona, Spain)

Using Blood Samples to Assess the Role of Nutritional Factors in Alzheimer’s Risk
Majken Jensen, PhD
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, MA)

Unexplored Toxic Pathways in Alzheimer’s: Potential New Drug Targets
Shahrnaz Kemal, PhD
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

ApoE4 and Mitochondrial Function in AD
Chaeyoung Kim, PhD
The J. David Gladstone Institutes, University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

An MRI Fingerprint of Brain Circuit Breakdown in Alzheimer’s
Terrance Kummer, MD, PhD
Washington University School of Medicine (Saint Louis, MO)

A New Mechanism Regulating Neuron Death in AD
Tae Ho Lee, PhD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

Link between Endoplasmic Reticulum Turnover and Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s1
Jin Rui Liang, PhD
University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

Why Do Brain Blood Vessels Become Leaky in Alzheimer's and Dementia?
Ethan Lippmann, PhD
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)

A Potential New Therapeutic Target for Alzheimer's Disease
Tao Ma, PhD
Wake Forest University School of Medicine (Winston-Salem, NC)

Understanding the Role of Apolipoprotein E in Microglia
Edoardo Marcora, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY)

Building a Personalized Virtual Brain with Alzheimer’s
Randy McIntosh, PhD
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care (Toronto, Canada)

Exercise to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk in African Americans
Robert Newton, PhD
Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Baton Rouge, LA)

Testing a Novel Amyloid-promoting Factor as an Alzheimer’s Therapy
Daniel Pak, PhD
Georgetown University (Washington, DC)

Targeting APP Intracellular Fragment to Improve Memory and Reduce Aβ Burden in AD
Angèle Parent, PhD
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

Improving Brain Blood Flow in Alzheimer's Disease to Improve Cognitive Function
Chris Schaffer, PhD
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)

Neurovascular Changes in Aging and AD
Yi Su, PhD
Washington University School of Medicine (Saint Louis, MO)

New Tau Imaging for Early Diagnosis of AD
Peter Tessier, PhD
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI)

A New Way to Image Early Damage in the AD Brain
Yong Wang, PhD
Washington University School of Medicine (Saint Louis, MO)

Macular Degeneration

Guided by the recommendations of our Macular Degeneration Research Scientific Review Committee, we are pleased to announce $2.6 million for 17 new macular degeneration research grants.  Leading scientists from around the world will begin research projects to prevent inflammation, better understand advanced macular degeneration, and develop new treatments for patients.

A Zebrafish Model of Wet Macular Degeneration
Daniel Chao, MD, PhD
University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA)

Protecting RPE and Photoreceptors by Targeting a Novel Nuclear Receptor in Dry AMD
Jing Chen, PhD
Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

Metabolic Pathways of the Retina in Health and AMD
Yan Chen, PhD
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (Galveston, TX)

Extracellular Deposits and Vision Loss in AMD
Astra Dinculescu, PhD
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Exploring the Role of Inflammation in AMD
Cristhian Ildefonso, PhD
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Developing a Gene Therapy Against Complement Factors in AMD
Rajendra Kumar-Singh, PhD
Tufts University (Boston, MA)

Delivering Sight-saving Nutrients to the Retina in AMD
Binxing Li, PhD
Moran Eye Center (Salt Lake City, UT)

Aberrant Blood Vessel Growth in AMD: A New Animal Model
Sarah McFarlane, PhD
University of Calgary (Calgary, Canada)

Nutritional Factors in the Development of AMD
Trevor McGill, PhD
Oregon Health and Science University (Portland, OR)

Zebrafish Provides Insights into New AMD-Associated Genetic Mutation
Philippe Mourrain, PhD
Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

DNA Changes That May Lead to AMD and Other Vision Disease
Patsy Nishina, PhD
The Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, ME)

MicroRNAs and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in AMD
Michael Paulaitis, PhD
Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

Role of the Light-sensing Photoreceptor Cells in AMD
Claudio Punzo, PhD
University of Massachusetts School of Medicine (Worcester, MA)

Importance of Gut Bacteria in a Model of AMD
Sheldon Rowan, PhD
Tufts University (Boston, MA)

Targeting Immune Cells in AMD
Daniel Saban, PhD
Duke University Eye Center (Durham, NC)

Using Vitamin C to Treat AMD
Gaofeng Wang, PhD
Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL)

Glaucoma

Guided by the recommendations of our National Glaucoma Research Scientific Review Committee, we are pleased to announce $2.2 million for 15 new glaucoma research grants.  Leading scientists from around the world will begin research projects to prevent nerve cell death, improve drainage within the eye, and develop a greater understanding of the connection between brain health and glaucoma.

Computational Investigation of Glaucoma Progression
Tobias Elze, PhD
Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye & Ear, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)

Can Imaging Reveal Early Stage Damage to Individual Optic Nerve Fibers?
Brad Fortune, PhD
Devers Eye Institute (Portland, OR)

Growth Factor Signaling in Eye Development
Douglas Gould, PhD
University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

Testing the Brain Structure Connecting Two Hemispheres in Glaucoma
Esther Gonzalez, PhD
The Krembil Research Institute at UHN (Toronto, Canada)

Neuronal Control of IOP
Krish Kizhatil, PhD
The Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, ME)

A Gene Therapy Approach to Neuroprotection in Glaucoma
András Komáromy, DVM, PhD
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

CRISPR Interference Therapy for Glaucoma
Weiming Mao, PhD
North Texas Eye Research Institute, University of North Texas Health Science Center (Fort Worth, TX)

Imaging Individual Cells Affected by Glaucoma
Ethan Rossi, PhD
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Approach for Regenerating the Injured Optic Nerve
Ephraim Trakhtenberg, PhD
University of Connecticut Health Center (Farmington, CT)

Effects of Elevated IOP on Ganglion-Cell Photoreceptors
Matthew Van Hook, PhD
University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha, NE)

Gene Therapy to Inhibit Retinal Nerve Cell Death in Glaucoma
Derek Welsbie, MD, PhD
University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA)

A New Imaging Technique to Detect Early Markers of Glaucoma
Ji Yi, PhD
Boston Medical Center (Boston, MA)

The Role of Vascular Factors in Glaucoma
Linda Zangwill, PhD
University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA)

A New Approach to Optic Nerve Regeneration
Fengquan Zhou, PhD
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

Novel Treatment for Steroid and Myocilin Glaucoma
Gulab Zode, PhD
University of North Texas Health Science Center (Fort Worth, TX)