Chan Zuckerberg Initiative funds pilot projects in neurodegeneration, neuroscience 

Ribeiro (left), Kipnis and Pollina
Ribeiro (left), Kipnis and Pollina

Two innovative pilot projects led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to address critical challenges in the fields of neurodegeneration and neuroscience. The initiative has awarded a total of $12.8 million to more than 60 pilot projects nationwide. Each project receives $200,000 over 18 months, and successful projects will be eligible for an additional $1.6 million in funding over four years.  

Felipe A. P. Ribeiro, an assistant professor of medicine, and Jonathan Kipnis, a BJC Investigator and the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Pathology & Immunology, will investigate how sensory neurons in the tissue surrounding the brain — called the meninges — influence immunity and brain function to alter memory and contribute to neurodegeneration. Their findings have the potential to advance therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.    

Elizabeth Pollina, an assistant professor of developmental biology, and Dragana Rogulija, of Harvard University, will investigate the effects of sleep loss on the genome in tissues throughout the body. Insufficient sleep has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and can shorten life span. The researchers are seeking molecular and genetic factors that promote the health of tissues even when sleep is restricted. 

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