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UIC Lands $9.8M for Alzheimer's Risk Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A project led by researchers at The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine will use a $9.8 million National Institutes of Health award to study the genetics and cell biology of an Alzheimer's disease risk factor, UIC said Tuesday.

In an interdisciplinary study, a UIC scientist will lead a project that includes molecular genetics and cell biology researchers at other institutions to study the APOE gene encoding apoliprotein E, which affects neuron signaling, neurotoxicity, and synaptic function.

The aim of the research, which is funded by the National Institute on Aging, is to use "the overlapping interests and diverse expertise" of five scientists who area studying apoE in the central nervous system in order to define their expression and function, said Mary Jo LaDu, an associate professor of anatomy and cell biology in the UIC College of Medicine, who is leading the project.

In one project, Steve Estus, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, will test whether genetic variations within apoE receptor genes alter their functions and define whether these variations affect the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Estus will work with LaDu and with researchers at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, Georgetown University, and the University of South Florida. The projects include studies of how apoE receptors affect metabolism of three human apoE isoforms, development of assays of apoE and apoE receptors, and the generation of new transgenic mouse models.

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