BrightFocus Foundation Congratulates $50K Winners of 2013 Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge

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Enrico Glaab of the University of Luxembourg wins first place, Quackenbush and Glass of Harvard win second, in the effort to unlock gender-based differences in Alzheimer's disease

CLARKSBURG, MD—BrightFocus Foundation, which funds research worldwide on diseases affecting mind and sight, lauded Luxembourg researcher Enrico Glaab, Ph.D., who today won the $50,000 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge for research proposals on gender differences in Alzheimer’s disease. Glaab, of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine at the University of Luxembourg, will examine whether certain genes are expressed differently in men and women, and whether one gene (USP9Y) may be protective in men, explaining the increased risks for Alzheimer’s disease in women.

BrightFocus is a founding member of 21st Century Brain Trust, a coalition of nonprofit organizations working to end Alzheimer’s disease. The Trust funded the $50,000 first place prize. The Challenge was organized by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, and the WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s Network.

Sanofi Pharmaceuticals also announced a $50,000 award for the second place entry, by John Quackenbush, Ph.D., and Kimberly Glass, Ph.D., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the Harvard School of Public Health. Quakenbush and Glass will examine gender differences in cellular networks, and hope to expand technology they have developed to better predict sex-based differences in Alzheimer’s disease.

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BrightFocus, in addition to its work with 21st Century BrainTrust,™ helped launch the Challenge and promoted an on-line voting component that saw over 6300 citizen activists and scientists cast their support for one of three finalists. The on-line vote was combined with the recommendations of a scientific panel at the New York Academy of Sciences.

“We applaud the work of these scientists, and we have been honored to be a part of the Geoffrey Beene Challenge,” said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller. “The strong enthusiasm the Challenge generated is a powerful reminder of the need for a better understanding of gender-based differences in Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment.”

The Challenge was organized by the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, and the WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s Network.

BrightFocus Foundation is a nonprofit organization supporting research and public education to help eradicate brain and eye diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma. For more information, call 1-800-437-2423.