(Burton, MI)-- March 24, 2010 --The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) has awarded a $30,000 grant to the University of Michigan for research to be conducted by Dr. Mi Hee Lim on "The Roles of Metal Ions in Alzheimer's Disease. " The grant was awarded in the names of the Flynn and Burger families who honor Mary Batch Flynn, Murlie Burger Patterson, and C. E. “Sonny” Cowlthorpe with their donations to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Dr Lim is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. She received her training at the Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, Korea (BS in Chemistry; MS in Molecular Life Sciences), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD in Chemistry) and did post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology (Chemistry). This grant, is the third of many the AAQI will award.
Dr Lim explains: "Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative, fatal brain disease with no cure. A hallmark of this disease is the accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid-beta (Abeta) plaques. Mechanisms for formation of these misfolded proteins and their associations with AD pathology are not entirely understood, though the hypothesis that metal ions are involved in the assembly of Abeta aggregates and their neurotoxicity including generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a source of oxidative stress has been emerging. Additionally, aberrant metal ion homeostasis in Alzheimer’s brains triggers deactivation of Abeta-degrading enzymes, accelerating Abeta deposition. These studies suggest that metal ions can induce Alzheimer’s neuropathology, but it still is unclear whether/how they are implicated in the progression of the disease.
The goal is to establish the roles of metal ions in AD. The approach is to develop a new class of small bifuncitional molecules that can interact synergistically with Ab and metal ions, thereby, providing fine controls of Ab aggregation and ROS production. Our first-generation molecules have been rationally designed. Some of these compounds have been tested and have showed modulation of metal-induced Ab aggregation and neurotoxicity in cell-free solutions and in human neuroblastoma cells. These preliminary findings put us in position to generate a new class of small molecules and use these reagents as chemical probes to unravel metal-involved pathogenesis in AD and as potential therapeutic agents for metal-ion chelation therapy."
The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (www.AlzQuilts.org) is a national, grassroots organization whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. It auctions and sells donated quilts through the Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt project and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's called "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece." The AAQI has raised more than $390,000 since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. 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), firstname.lastname@example.org or www.alzquilts.org.
Founder and Executive Director
Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
1200 Creekwood Trail
Burton, MI 48509
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Picture #3: The team which will soon begin work, financed in part by the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative, is from left to right: Joseph Braymer, Dr. Mi Hee Lim, Nathan Merrill, Jung Suk Choi, Nicole Schmidt, Yihong Liu, and Alaina DeToma.