BrightFocus Partnership With Alzheimer’s Los Angeles Funds Two New Alzheimer’s Studies
August 1, 2023 – Global nonprofit BrightFocus Foundation is pleased to announce that it has received a $50,000 donation from Alzheimer’s Los Angeles (Alzheimer’s LA) to support two innovative Alzheimer’s disease research scientists as part of the Foundation’s 2023 research portfolio.
The donation by Alzheimer’s LA, the oldest community-based organization in Los Angeles serving people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and their caregivers, will support the work of Paul Seidler, assistant professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Southern California, and David Boyer, PhD, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles. The funds will be divided equally between the two researchers, who were selected by the BrightFocus Alzheimer’s Disease Research Scientific Review Committee and approved by the Alzheimer’s LA Healthcare and Research Advisory Council.
Since 2017, Alzheimer’s LA has provided support for six pioneering scientific research grants.
About the Scientists
An expert in structural biology, neurodegenerative disorders, and Alzheimer’s drug discovery, Dr. Seidler uses structural biology and computational chemistry to develop inhibitors of tau pathology, which is thought to drive neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
With his research grant from BrightFocus, Dr. Seidler and his team are studying natural plant products that bear structural similarity to proteins from the human brain that become tangled with age. The team hopes to leverage these structural and chemical similarities to develop dietary supplements and pharmaceutical-grade medicines to support healthier aging and to treat Alzheimer’s disease, respectively.
“Natural products are an underutilized source of affordable chemicals that can be rapidly deployed to support healthy aging. Few chemicals offer promise to impact the health of aging individuals within the short timeline of the next few years,” Dr. Seidler said. “Our strategy offers a means to rapidly implement innovative dietary supplement formulations of DHM [a commercially available dietary supplement] as a chemical tool to promote healthier aging by counteracting age-related protein aggregates that form in the brain.”
Dr. Seidler was the recipient of a 2017 joint grant from BrightFocus and Alzheimer’s LA for his work investigating the atomic resolution structures of toxic tau protein assemblies that are found in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Boyer’s research focuses on better understanding the molecular basis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, which could advance new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Working in the laboratory of Dr. David Eisenberg, a renowned leader in studying the structural biology of proteins involved in amyloid-related diseases, Dr. Boyer seeks to uncover for the first time the atomic structures of amyloid oligomers, thought to be central to the pathology of Alzheimer’s.
“The support of BrightFocus Foundation’s postdoctoral fellowship will allow me to pursue studies of amyloid protein structures, called oligomers, that have thus far eluded our understanding,” Dr. Boyer said. “The success of my project would shine light on these mysterious and important components of the overall amyloid disease picture, potentially revealing new targets for diagnostic and therapeutic development. I extend my heartfelt thanks to all BrightFocus donors for allowing me, and all other BrightFocus grantees, to advance understanding of and solutions for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.”
“Alzheimer’s is taking a growing personal and financial toll on our nation and world, but the innovative and exciting work of scientists like Drs. Seidler and Boyer give me great hope for the future,” said BrightFocus President and CEO Stacy Pagos Haller.
“We are pleased to continue building our partnership with BrightFocus in support of innovative scientists like Dr. Seidler and Dr. Boyer,” said Heather Cooper Ortner, President and CEO, Alzheimer’s Los Angeles. “This is an exciting time in Alzheimer’s research and we look forward to seeing where their work leads.”
About BrightFocus Foundation
BrightFocus Foundation is a premier global 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 has awarded nearly $290 million in groundbreaking research funding over the past 50 years and shares the latest research findings, expert information, and resources to empower the millions impacted by these devastating diseases. Learn more at brightfocus.org.
About Alzheimer’s Los Angeles
For more than 40 years Alzheimer’s Los Angeles has been serving families in the greater Los Angeles area. 100% of funds raised stay local, providing free support and services for individuals and families. Low-cost training and education are also offered for professionals. Alzheimer’s Los Angeles focuses on care, support, advocacy, and local research. Alzheimer’s is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that weakens memory and other cognitive and emotional functions. For more information, call the Helpline at 844.HELP.ALZ or visit www.AlzheimersLA.org.
Heather Cooper Ortner