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Tackling Alzheimer's Disease

Three UNLV scientists will present their work during an Alzheimer's research symposium Nov. 13 on campus.
Research  |  Nov 2, 2015  |  By Shane Bevell
Media Contact: Shane Bevell (702) 895-2079
Nora Caberoy

Nora Caberoy will be one of three faculty members presenting work during an Alzheimer’s research symposium. (Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services)

The UNLV College of Sciences will host an Alzheimer's research symposium at 1 p.m. Nov. 13 in the White Hall auditorium (Room 197) on campus.  

Three college faculty will present current research from their labs that could impact treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease. The research was made possible by a gift from the John B. and Mary N. Knight Trust.   

Nora Caberoy, School of Life Sciences
Research topic: “Phagocytosis-based Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease”

Caberoy’s ultimate goal is to develop a new therapy to eliminate and/or prevent the build up of harmful levels of amyloid beta in the Alzheimer’s disease brain. Her team has engineered hybrid proteins that are capable of “snatching” harmful amyloid beta and “re-channeling” them to an alternative degradation route that will not instigate a toxic response in the brain. Their initial findings reveal that the hybrid proteins facilitate the removal of harmful amyloid beta and reduce the number of inflammatory initiators, which may be essential for preventing brain cell death in patients of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ronald Gary, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Research topic: “A Chemist’s Approach Toward Unraveling the ‘Tangles’ in Alzheimer’s Disease”

Neurofibrillary tangles are molecular structures that appear in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease. These structures are damaging to brain function, and they are composed of a protein called tau. Gary’s research focuses on the chemical process that turns normal tau into tangled tau, and looks at chemical inhibitors that may have the potential to prevent the development of neurofibrillary tangles.

Martin Schiller, Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine
Research topic: “Algorithms for Identifying Genetic Pathways in Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease”

Cancer has distinct genetic pathways that produce abnormal proliferation in many organisms. Schiller explored a similar question for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease by developing a novel computational algorithm to look for sets of genetic variants that cluster together in a cohort of patients. Schiller is also part of a research team with UNLV psychology professor Jefferson Kinney that is assessing novel models of Alzheimer’s with particular attention to the role of the immune system. This is part of a larger $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health where UNLV is partnering with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.