A special fund supported by Oregon residents who donate portions of their state tax refunds toward Alzheimer's disease research is being used to fund grants for nine studies during the next year.
The Oregon Alzheimer's Disease Research Small Grants Program, funded by the Tax Check-Off Program for Alzheimer's Disease Research, is providing grants ranging from $21,100 to $25,000 each for research projects at Portland State University, the University of Oregon, the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University. The grant period is from June 1, 2004, to June 30, 2005.
Project titles, grant recipients and grant amounts are as follows:
- "Developmental Role of APP-Related Programs During Neuronal Migration," Philip Copenhaver, Ph.D., Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, OHSU School of Medicine, $25,000.
- "Communication Devices to Enhance Conversation in Dementia," Melanie Fried-Oken, Ph.D., Child Development and Rehabilitation Center, OHSU School of Medicine, $25,000.
- "Family Study of Human Longevity and Healthy Brain Aging," Patricia Kramer, Ph.D., Oregon Alzheimer's Disease Center, OHSU School of Medicine, $25,000.
- "Neighborhood Influence on Social and Behavioral Consequences of Alzheimer's Disease," Yvonne Michael, Sc.D., Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, OHSU School of Medicine, $25,000.
- "Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in an Animal Model of Neurofibrillary Tangle Pathology," Joseph Quinn, M.D., Department of Neurology, OHSU School of Medicine, $24,991.
- "Developing and Evaluating Measures of Family Perspectives About Person-Centered Care for Persons With Dementia in Long-Term Care Settings," Diana White, Ph.D., OHSU School of Nursing, $25,000.
- "Perceived Control in Older Adults Living in Long-Term Care," Nancy Chapman, Ph.D., School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University, $23,569.
- "A Drosophila Model of Neuroprotection by Steroid Hormones," Janis Weeks, Ph.D., Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, $21,100.
- "Patient and Provider Views on Prognosis in Alzheimer's Disease," Susan Rose, Ph.D., R.N., Nursing Research, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, $24,944.
Grant recipients are determined by the Alzheimer's Research Partnership, an alliance of scientists and administrators from OHSU, Providence Health System in Oregon, Kaiser Permanente, the Oregon chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Portland State University and Oregon State University. The Layton Center for Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Research serves as steward for the program's funds.
Linda Boise, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of neurology, OHSU School of Medicine, and the Layton Center's director of education and information, said she and other alliance members were impressed by the diversity of the subject matter covered in this year's projects.
"It's a wide range. You have some really basic science, but then you have some more social science and you have some clinically relevant research going on -- qualitative and quantitative," she said. "We were really pleased about that. It's pretty broad."
Alliance member Mark Hornbrook, Ph.D., chief scientist for Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research, said this year's group of small grant awards demonstrates the leadership position dementia researchers in Oregon occupy relative to the NIH RoadMap, which seeks to accelerate translation of research findings from the bench to the bedside.
"This year's awards represent a potential for significant cross fertilization among molecular scientists working with such animal models as fruit flies and moths, and epidemiologists, nursing researchers and social scientists examining ways of improving communication with demented patients and improving the quality of patients' lives."
Grants are awarded to clinical investigators and basic scientists for clinical, biological, behavioral or health system research that will advance understanding, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Appropriate fields include the neurosciences, nursing, social work, epidemiology, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, economics, counseling, delivery of health care services and others relevant to Alzheimer's research or practice. Applicants are evaluated on scientific merit, but priority is given to investigators just entering the field of dementia research and to new or innovative projects.
"We're trying to help build a positive research climate related to Alzheimer's disease and nurture research, and we're also interested in multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research," Boise said. "Often, what we are doing is funding pilot studies that will enable investigators to go on to obtain larger funds from the Alzheimer's Association, the federal government or other sources."
Boise emphasized that all grant applicants go through a sound, thorough review process that involves local and national reviewers: "What we're committed to is maintaining this program as a community-based program that will support researchers at a wide variety of institutions."