October 1, 2021 by
Office of the VCCBH
It is with great pleasure that we announce the recipients of our inaugural Vermont Center for Cardiovascular and Brain Health Pilot Grant Award, Drs Yangguang Ou and David Punihaole.
Drs Ou and Punihaole are newly appointed Assistant Professors in the Department of Chemistry and are Pipeline Investigators in our Center. Their work will focus on the use of novel chemical imaging and rapid electrochemical sensing techniques to assess the pathophysiology of variant amyloid-β fibrils involved in Alzheimer’s Disease and Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy and is summarized below:
Abnormal function of brain blood vessels and loss of function of brain cells contribute to cognitive decline in older people. These abnormalities are present in two related brain diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy. In these disorders, fibrils made up of amyloid-b (Ab) peptides are deposited in the brain. These fibrils damage the cells and blood vessels in the brain. They may cause these diseases and contribute to their severity. This research has two aims. We will develop bioanalytical methods to 1) monitor how Ab fibrils interact with cell membranes in brain tissue and brain blood vessels, and 2) measure molecules released from these interactions that contribute to cell death. We will develop novel chemical imaging and rapid electrochemical sensing techniques to do this. We hope to understand the effects of Ab fibrils on the progression and outcome of Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy. Our long-term goal is to better understand causes of Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral amyloid angiopathy. We hope that this will guide the development of medications for prevention and treatment of these conditions.
This award, supported wholly by funds from UVM entities, provides $200,000 over 2 years to fund meritorious research from early career faculty. We are very grateful to Deans from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Arts & Sciences, Engineering & Mathematical Sciences, and the Graduate College, as well as the Cardiovascular Research Institute of Vermont, for their support of this program. In addition, we would like to acknowledge matching fund support from the Department of Chemistry.
Please watch for our announcement for the next VCCBH Pilot Grant Award opportunity. We will announce this in December and will be accepting letters of intent until February 4, 2021. As for this year, we will be seeking applications from pairs of early career investigators, so now is the time to start thinking about your application.