Home » News Update – February 11, 2022

    News Update – February 11, 2022

    Two Research Projects Selected for ADRC Norins Pilot Awards

    Two research projects exploring the role that infections or microbes might play in Alzheimer’s disease have received $50,000 Duke/UNC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Norins Pilot Awards. The Norins Pilot Awards, coordinated by the Duke University Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, are intended to stimulate and support collaborative, innovative research on the potential role of microbes or pathogens in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Two projects were selected for funding from a highly competitive field of proposals:

    • “Investigating the Utility of Corneal Staining for Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease,” led by principal investigator Victor L. Perez Quinones, MD, the Stephen and Frances Foster Distinguished Professor of Ocular Immunology and Inflammation in the Duke Department of Ophthalmology, along with collaborators Gerald B. Pier, PhD, professor of medicine, and Colette Cywes-Bentley, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, both at Harvard Medical School.The researchers will seek to determine whether microbial antigens on ocular surface and/or corneal epithelium can be used to identify individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
    • “Testing the Germ Theory of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) by Focusing on P. gingivalis and Apolipoprotein-E,” led by principal investigator Michael P. Vitek, PhD, adjunct associate professor in the Duke Department of Neurology, and collaborators Alexandra Badea, PhD, associate professor of radiology and neurology at Duke, and Ian Shih, PhD, associate professor of neurology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.They will work to establish preliminary data exploring the interaction of P. gingivalis infection (the keystone bacteria associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease) and the APOE genotype (recognized as one of the largest risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s Disease) in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

    These awards are made possible by generous support from Dr. Leslie Norins, MD’62, and Ms. Rainey Norins.

    For more information on key gaps and high priority topics related to the potential role of infection, microbes, and inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease, please see the recording of the Duke/UNC ADRC 2021 symposium at Duke/UNC ADRC 2021 Symposium.

    Good News and Kudos

    • Duke medical student, Praruj Pant, along with mentors Sharon Fekrat, MD, and Dilraj Grewal, MD, from the iMIND team received a Research to Prevent Blindness (RPB) Medical Student Eye Research Fellowship for their project “Cross-sectional study of multimodal ophthalmic imaging in 3 well-characterized cohorts – AD, MCI, normal cognition – of Duke-UNC ADRC.”
    • Former Duke medical student, Delaram Mirzania, MD, along with mentors Sharon Fekrat, MD; Dilraj Grewal, MD, and coauthors Kim Johnson, MD; Andy Liu, MD; Cason Robbins, MD, from the iMIND team published “Retinal and choroidal changes in males compared to females with Alzheimer’s disease: A case-control study” in Ophthalmology Science.
    • Duke medical student, Justin Ma, along with coauthors Sharon Fekrat, MD; Dilraj Grewal, MD; Cason Robbins, MD; Kim Johnson, MD; Burton Scott, MD, PhD, from the iMIND team published “Repeatability of peripapillary OCT angiography in neurodegenerative disease” in Ophthalmology Science.
    • Follow iMIND on Twitter for the latest updates: https://twitter.com/iMIND_Research

    Send us your news to share with the Duke-UNC Alzheimer’s disease research community!


    Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2022 (AAIC) – Early Registration
    July 31 – August 4, San Diego, California

    Registration for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2022 (AAIC®), July 31-August 4 in San Diego, USA and online, is now open exclusively for ISTAART members.

    Register by May 13 to save on registration for the largest and most influential international meeting dedicated to advancing dementia science. Early bird registrants also receive priority access to rooms in conveniently located AAIC hotels, plus discounted rates.

    Plan for a fun night out with Duke and UNC attendees! Details to come.

    Putting Participants and Study Partners FIRST When Clinical Trials End Early
    March 9, 3pm ET, online

    The Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Consortium (ACTC) Ethics committee will host “Putting Participants and Study Partners FIRST When Clinical Trials End Early” on March 9, 3pm ET. Presenters will include Emily Largent, JD, PhD, RN; Rebecca Edelmayer, PhD; Sarah Walter, MSc; and Nancy Childs, PhD.

    In 2019, a number of AD clinical trials ended early. Many participants and their study partners learned about the change from media outlets rather than from their study site. The Participant FIRST Work Group was formed in response to participants’ and study partners’ concerns. The group assembled participants, study partners, researchers, ethicists, advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical partners, and others with the aim to develop recommendations to improve communication and support when trials end early. This meeting will summarize the work group’s recommendations and include a discussion about how ACTC and ADRC sites can work to create meaningful change.

    This JAMA Neurology article by Emily Largent and Jason Karlawish provides further background.

    Zoom link >

    Meeting ID: 934 3703 0544

    Passcode: 203906

    Dial by your location: +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)