Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative Awards First Research Grant


(Burton, Michigan--May 28, 2009) The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) has awarded a $10,000 research grant to the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health for a study called "Brain Cholesterol & Alzheimer's Disease Pathology." This grant, the first of many the AAQI will award, was made in honor of Beebe Moss (1923-2008). Beebe Moss was the mother of Ami Simms, the founder of the organization.

The study which will be conducted by Dr. Nicholas Fitz focuses on proteins that regulate the level of cholesterol in the brain. Many of these proteins are thought to play a critical role in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. One group of proteins of particular interest are apolipoproteins, tasked with carrying fat and cholesterol through the body and affecting the build-up of amyloid plaque, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The University of Pittsburgh laboratory is looking at a how another protein, ABCA1, transfers lipids and cholesterol from inside the cells to apolipoproteins outside the cell. ABCA1 may be a key to lowering levels of cholesterol in the brain and reducing risk for Alzheimer's disease. Researchers in the laboratory are using a variety of approaches, including molecular biology and biochemistry, to study the impact of this and other proteins in mice.

Dr. Fitz received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Duquesne University and currently works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. He is part of a team of researchers who are examining how proteins may regulate levels of cholesterol in the brain and play a role in the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. Alzheimer’s: Forgetting Piece by Piece (a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's) and the Priority: Alzheimer’s Quilts project are two of its efforts. The AAQI has raised more than $285,000 for Alzheimer’s research since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Her mother had Alzheimer’s.

For more information on the AAQI or to make a donation, contact Ami Simms at 810-637-5586 (9 a.m – 3 p.m. Eastern),


Ami Simms, Founder and Executive Director
Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
1200 Creekwood Trail
Burton, MI 48509

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Dr. Nicholas Fitz

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Alzheimer's disease research team
University of Pittsburgh
Graduate School of Public Health

From left to right: Drs. Radosveta Koldamova,
Lliya Lefterov, Andrea Cronican, Allison Fogg,
Nicholas Fitz, Sean Eggelstone, and Tim Tulloch.

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