Four faculty recognized for their achievements

Four WUSTL faculty members were recognized for their accomplishments during the Faculty Achievement Awards ceremony Dec. 7 in Simon Hall. (From left) David M. Holtzman, MD, and Randall J. Bateman, MD, received the Chancellor’s Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. James V. Wertsch, PhD, and Richard H. Gelberman, MD, received the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award and the Carl and Gerty Cori Faculty Achievement Award, respectively.

Broken cellular ‘clock’ linked to brain damage

A new discovery may help explain the surprisingly strong connections between sleep problems and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Loss of a gene that helps keep track of time makes brain cells more vulnerable to damage from dangerous compounds known as free radicals.

New perspective needed for role of major Alzheimer’s gene

Scientists’ picture of how a gene strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease harms the brain may have to be revised, researchers at the School of Medicine have found. Washington University’s David M. Holtzman, MD, says leading researchers recently agreed that targeting this gene is a promising approach for gaining a better understanding of and improving treatments for the disease.

Malfunctioning protein contributes to Alzheimer’s plaques

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a protein made by a key Alzheimer’s gene slows the brain’s ability to get rid of amyloid beta, the main ingredient of the amyloid plaques that characterize the devastating illness.

Cells talk more in areas Alzheimer’s hits first, boosting plaque component

Higher levels of cellular chatter boosts levels of amyloid beta in the brain regions that Alzheimer’s hits first, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report. Amyloid beta is the main ingredient of the plaque lesions that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s. The finding may help explain why areas that are most active when the brain rests are often among the first to develop these plaques, according to the researchers.