BrightFocus Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grantee Honored for Sex Differences Project

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Gael Chetelat, PhD
Gael Chetelat, PhD, University of Caen-Normandy, France

Gael Chetelat, PhD, University of Caen-Normandy, France, a BrightFocus Foundation Alzheimer’s Disease Research grantee, was honored on Oct. 21, 2022, as a Women’s Health Access Matters (WHAM) Edge Award recipient for her project, “Sex Differences in Risk Profiles Across the Alzheimer’s Disease Continuum.”

Sharyn Rossi, PhD, director of scientific programs, neuroscience, at BrightFocus, accepted the award on Dr. Chetelat’s behalf at WHAM’s “On the Edge” Forum in Boston.

Dr. Chetelat’s BrightFocus-funded research focuses on sex-specific risk profiles associated with Alzheimer’s disease in support of developing sex-specific diagnostic formulas for early detection and personalized interventions.  

Women comprise about two-thirds of all people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s-related dementia, and new sex-based differences in genetics and immunity have been recognized as playing a role. As one of the first organizations to fund research into sex-based differences, BrightFocus-funded grantees are exploring sex-based hormones and underlying risks—such as higher rates of depression in women than men—at all levels of Alzheimer’s research, from cell studies to epidemiology to treatment trials.  

In 2022, BrightFocus’ Alzheimer’s Disease Research program awarded nearly $14 million for 55 new research grants and is currently funding 167 Alzheimer’s projects worldwide.  

“Understanding sex-based differences in Alzheimer’s disease is not just a women’s issue,” said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller.  “We are proud to serve as WHAM’s brain-eye health partner to deepen our understanding of women’s health and the study of sex differences to accelerate health research that benefits everyone.” 

“I feel very grateful to have received this joint award from Foundation Vaincre Alzheimer and BrightFocus Foundation. This is a huge mark of recognition not only for me, but for my lab and my entire team of men and women working hard all together to make a difference on this topic,” said Dr. Chetelat. “This is a great illustration of how partnership and collaboration is powerful in Alzheimer’s research.” 

WHAM, a national health nonprofit and BrightFocus partner, presented the Edge Awards to recognize three early-stage investigators, including Dr. Chetelat, whose research focuses on understanding the role of sex and gender in women’s health outcomes in one of its areas of focus - brain health, heart health, autoimmune disease, and cancer. 

About WHAM (Women’s Health Access Matters)

WHAM works to increase awareness of and funding for women’s health research by accelerating scientific discovery in women’s health in four primary disease verticals – autoimmune disease, brain health, heart health and cancer. WHAM commissioned the RAND Corporation to conduct a data driven study, The WHAM Report, which quantifies the economic opportunity for investing in women’s health, looking across diseases that impact women differently and differentially.  Learn more at www.thewhamreport.org and www.whamnow.org.

About BrightFocus Foundation  

BrightFocus Foundation is a premier nonprofit funder of research to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Through its flagship research programs—Alzheimer’s Disease Research, National Glaucoma Research, and Macular Degeneration Research—the Foundation is currently supporting a $75 million portfolio of 287 scientific projects. BrightFocus has awarded nearly $275 million in groundbreaking medical research funding since inception and shares the latest research findings, expert information, and English/Spanish disease resources to empower the millions impacted by these devastating diseases. Join our community at brightfocus.org.

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