New $5.4M grant funds JAX studies of ‘cognitive resilience’ to Alzheimer’s disease

JAX Assistant Professor Catherine Kaczorowski, Ph.D.

A new five-year grant totaling $5,382,423 to Jackson Laboratory (JAX) Assistant Professor Catherine Kaczorowski will fund research to explore why some people with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, and even brain changes associated with the disease, nevertheless manage to maintain their cognitive capabilities.

Understanding the genetic factors behind this so-called cognitive resilience could provide targets for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Several genetic mutations have been traced to a rare, early-onset type of Alzheimer’s disease that runs in families and appears in patients as young as 30 years old. With the new grant from the National Institute on Aging, Kaczorowski will study mice carrying these mutations to identify other genetic factors that may overcome the cognitive decline that usually comes with Alzheimer’s disease.

These resilience factors could point the way to new treatments that promote healthy brain aging and resistance to Alzheimer’s disease, including the more common, late-onset version of the disease for which there is no known genetic cause.

Earlier this month, Kaczorowski was recognized by The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research with a $60,000 award for research in biological mechanisms of aging. In May she received a five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Aging for a research project identifying novel genetic factors and mechanisms of memory decline in normal cognitive aging that may also influence risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

National Institute on Aging: Systems genetics analysis of resilience to Alzheimer’s disease, grant number 1R01AG057914-01