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UCI MIND redesignated as Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

Prestigious $11 million renewal grant continues highly impactful programs

April 16, 2015 — UC Irvine’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders has received a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to renew its status as one of only 27 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers in the nation – and the only one in Orange County.

The prestigious award, which supports a major component of UCI MIND, will allow the center to continue its highly impactful clinical and basic research programs, as well as community and caregiver education programs.

“With its ADRC designation, UCI MIND is part of an elite network of researchers with a broad scope of expertise, spanning many different disciplines,” said Frank LaFerla, the Hana & Francisco J. Ayala Dean of the Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences and the ADRC leader. “This opportunity for collaboration allows researchers around the country to share cutting-edge ideas and research results.”

Involving more than 100 investigators, the ADRC has directed its research efforts at discovering the cellular, molecular and clinical risk factors that trigger neuronal dysfunction and neuropathological changes in the aging brain and that can result in Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. In particular, the ADRC studies three distinct groups: people with Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease, those with mild cognitive problems at risk for dementia, and nonagenarian subjects in the 90+ Study.

The center’s multidisciplinary team takes a comprehensive approach to research and care through mandated core components: clinical evaluation, neuropathology, community outreach and education, and data management and statistics.

UCI’s ADRC hosts three major research projects. One focuses on state-of-the-art, high-resolution neuroimaging of older adults with and without mild cognitive impairment to test a neurocognitive model of age-related memory deficits. Another project seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms associated with the Down syndrome brain. And the third investigates the long-term benefit of neural stem cell transplantation as a potential Alzheimer’s treatment. As part of that effort, LaFerla and colleague Mathew Blurton-Jones established the nation’s first Core facility to develop induced pluripotent stem cells to facilitate Alzheimer’s disease research.

“ADRC activities are at the heart of our mission with UCI MIND,” said Andrea Tenner, professor of molecular biology & biochemistry and UCI MIND director. “By fostering multidisciplinary basic, clinical and behavioral research in Alzheimer’s disease and translating these findings into practice, we plan to make a real difference in the lives of the millions of afflicted Americans.”

To learn more about UCI’s ADRC or participate in a clinical evaluation, call 949-824-2382 or go to www.alz.uci.edu.

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