Home » News Update – March 18, 2022

    News Update – March 18, 2022

    Good News and Kudos

    Zhiyong Liu, PhD, a research associate in Dr. Andrew West’s lab at the Duke Center for Neurodegeneration and Neurotherapeutics, was recently awarded a very competitive K99/R00 grant from the NIA to start his own research laboratory focused on vesicle trafficking defects in Alzheimer’s disease. Project title: “Role of Rab10 in Alzheimer’s disease” (K99AG075179)

    UNC neurologist, Monica Diaz, MD, MS, is the lead PI for her recently funded project, “A vulnerability index for cognitive impairment risk in Latin America.” The Alzheimer’s Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity offers $150,000 over three years starting July 1. In collaboration with colleagues from the Peruvian Neurological Institute in Lima, Peru and UCSF Memory & Aging Center, the study seeks to evaluate the epidemiology of neurocognitive disorders in two districts of Lima, Peru (one socioeconomically vulnerable and one affluent), assessing individual-level data pertaining to social, behavioral and environmental determinants of brain health. This will be the first large-scale door-to-door study seeking to expand our understanding of cognitive resilience and potentially modifiable neurocognitive disorder risk factors in Latin America.

    The Ethics, Law, and Humanities Committee, a joint committee of the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, and the Child Neurology Society, has selected Duke Neurology resident, Deborah Rose, MD, as one of the recipients of the Neurologist-in-Training Clinical Ethics Elective for 2022-2023.

    ADRC co-director, Heather Whitson, MD, MHS, was quoted in this article published by ALZFORUM on March 15, 2022: Can Preserving Vision and Hearing Prevent Dementia?

    Funding Opportunity for Young Investigators

    The Dementia Alliance of North Carolina announced research grant support for young investigators in new areas of research addressing the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment for persons with various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, or research on programs for the care of persons with these conditions. The program will accept applications for basic, translational, clinical or community-based care delivery research related to dementia. Research projects will be accepted for review employing cellular, animal or human models.

    One award this year will be made under this program to an applicant from any of six academic institutions in North Carolina (East Carolina University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University, the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell University and NC State University). The award will be for two-years, at $50,000 per year, for a total of $100,000. Interested investigators must submit by a Letter of Intent by 5:00 pm EST, April 8, 2022. Learn more >

    Meet the ADRC Staff!

    This week we are featuring members of the Clinical Core and the Data Management and Statistics Core.

    Lindsay Washington
    Clinical Research Specialist, Clinical Core

    Lindsay Washington is a graduate of Smith College with a degree in African-American Studies. After attending Stony Brook University for graduate school, she developed a passion for tutoring biology and chemistry courses. Lindsay’s background includes the ethics of informed consent and, how the intersections of race, ethnicity, and medicine lead to health care disparities.

    Lindsay’s research interests include advancing health equity in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. She is excited to be at the ADRC and work alongside such a dedicated team.

    Syam Gadde
    Research Associate, Data Management and Statistics Core

    Syam Gadde graduated from Yale University with a degree in computer science and music.  His initial fields of study after graduation included computer networking, internet technologies and operating systems. Since 2002, he has worked for the Duke-UNC Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, developing expertise in data sharing, databases, GPU computation, and creating fMRI/DWI analysis infrastructure. Prior to joining the ADRC team, he also worked on data sharing/harmonization with various Biomedical Imaging/Informatics Research Network (BIRN) testbeds.

    Outside of work, Syam seems to be constantly carpooling for his teenage kids; vicariously relives his musician past through their piano and trombone playing; gym/rock climbs with his family; and spends an inordinate amount of time thinking about starting to run again.

    Blair Chesnut
    Analyst Programmer, Data Management and Statistics Core

    Blair Chesnut is a graduate of Middlebury College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics. He later received a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University. Blair has worked for the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute (formerly Duke Center for Human Genetics) since 2000.

    Blair’s work involves database and web application programming. He enjoys spending time at the beach with his wife Laura and cat Roger, and playing trombone with several local music groups.


    Cognitive Aging, Dementia, and the Future of an Aging Society

    Thursday, March 24, 3:30-5:00pm
    In-person Duke event – Parking pass available

    Kenneth M. Langa, MD, PhD
    Cyrus Sturgis Professor of Medicine
    Department of Internal Medicine
    University of Michigan

    Recent news and debate regarding the FDA approval of Aduhelm, a new medication aimed at slowing the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has brought to wider attention major shifts in the understanding and approach to diagnosing and treating AD and other causes of dementia.

    This seminar will review accumulating data and new approaches over the last twenty years to define and classify cognitive decline and dementia, including the importance of vascular contributions to the risk for cognitive decline, racial and ethnic differences in risk, and trends in dementia incidence and prevalence over recent decades. Recent focus on the biological pathways that are thought to cause the cognitive and functional decline associated with AD will be reviewed, as well as their implications for diagnosis and treatment, as highlighted by the current debate regarding the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of Aduhelm and other similar treatments currently under review.

    Event Date

    March 24, 2022 at 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

    Venue – In-person Duke event
    Gross Hall, Room 270, Duke campus

    This event will not be recorded. If you would like a parking pass to the lot next to the seminar location, please contact Laura Satterfield at laura.satterfield@duke.edu.

     Duke Neurology Grand Rounds
    Microglia in Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis

    Gwenn Garden, MD, PhD, co-director of the Duke-UNC ADRC, presented “Microglia in Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis” during Duke Neurology grand rounds on Wednesday, March 16. View the recording >

     ADRD IDEAS Forum

    Thursday, March 24, 4pm

    The next ADRD IDEAS Forum will feature Dr. Rashmita Basu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health at ECU who will be discussing her research on the effectiveness of music therapy intervention on the emotional well-being of people with dementia and their caregivers.

    All training levels are welcome  ̶  from high school student to professor. If you are interested in learning more about research on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, you are welcome.

    Join the ADRD IDEAS Forum listserv to receive future announcements directly.

    Join Zoom Meeting


    Meeting ID: 984 0816 8400

    Passcode: 359641


    June 24-25, 2022
    Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center, Duke University

    The first Symposium for Learning about Alzheimer’s disease-related Medical research at Duke and UNC (SLAM-DUNC) will be held Friday-Saturday, June 24 – 25 at the Duke Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center. The symposium is open to researchers, clinicians, and trainees from Duke, UNC, NCCU, UNC-Pembroke, and ECU and will include:

    • Research presentations from REC Scholars and trainees
    • A poster session
    • Networking sessions
    • Information about ADRC core resources

    A call for abstracts will be sent out in the coming weeks. We look forward to seeing you there!

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