Press Release June 14, 2022

JAX scientist receives research grant from Alzheimer’s Association

JAX researcher Harpreet Kaur with the banner 'JAX wants to #ENDALZ' across the foreground

The Alzheimer's Association has awarded Harpreet Kaur, Ph.D., a 2022 Research Fellowship grant.

Harpreet Kaur, Ph.D.Understanding the gut-brain interactions in aging and Alzheimer’s disease particularly, how host genetics and environmental factors (such as diet) may impact the disease progression.Dr. Kaur is an Associate Research Scientist at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, and will use the grant to explore gut-brain interactions in Alzheimer’s disease, and how they differ in males and females.

“Our gut has trillions of microbes that are both beneficial and harmful,” Dr. Kaur says. “They are known to influence the production of neurotransmitters and hormones/peptides in the gut, which can alter the brain and behavior. Therefore, it is important to investigate how gut microbiota manipulation could impact Alzheimer’s disease pathology and cognitive outcomes.”

The two-year, $140,000 award will help Dr. Kaur determine if gut microbiota regulates the levels of sex hormones, as important signaling molecules, responsible for the age/sex-specific effects of gut microbiota manipulation in AD.

“We are exploring whether probiotic supplementation at the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease pathology may slow down the disease progression, which may open new avenues for drug development,” Dr. Kaur says. “Once we figure out the mechanism in mice, we can study this in humans.”

This is Kaur’s second grant from the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2017, she was granted funding to study the impact of probiotics on Alzheimer’s disease. Kaur’s recent grant will allow her to expand on that study by focusing on the cross-talk between gut microbes and sex hormones, helping her to determine how gut microbes send signals to our brain and affect brain state particularly in Alzheimer’s disease.