Three UF scientists will receive $125,000 each for innovative projects to fight memory loss in older adults, MBI Executive Director Dennis Steindler, Ph.D., has announced.
"This initiative called for innovative and high-payoff ideas to solve age-related memory loss," Steindler said. "We wanted out-of-the-box, state-of-the-art approaches, rooted in cellular, genetic, molecular and behavioral neuroscience."
Grant awardees aim to create a brain-scanning method to test drug treatments, to solve the mysteries of how brain cells age, and to develop neuroprotective drugs.
The projects further the mission of the late William L. McKnight, who served 59 years as chairman of 3M company, and his wife Evelyn F. McKnight, a former nurse who was deeply interested in why memory often fades as people age. The Brain Institute was named for the McKnights in May 2000, after the McKnight Brain Research Foundation board of trustees gifted UF with $15 million to support aggressive research.
Awardees include David Loring, Ph.D., a neurology professor in the College of Medicine; Leonid Moroz, Ph.D., an associate professor of neuroscience and zoology at UF's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience; and Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., an assistant professor and medicinal chemist in the College of Pharmacy.
Loring wants to test the effectiveness of memory-loss therapies by applying a new statistical technique to a standard brain-scanning method called functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, known as fMRI.
Traditional thought holds that when older people lose the ability to bank new memories, it may be because of deterioration in the brain's temporal lobe.