|Medical School neuroscientist receives grant|
A neuroscientist at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences has received a grant totaling nearly $700,000 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study Alzheimer's disease.
Colin Combs, associate professor of pharmacology, physiology and therapeutics, received an RO1 award from the National Institute on Aging, a division of NIH, to study a particular mechanism in the brain which could play a role in the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
The four-year grant allows Combs to continue research aimed at identifying a target for a specific mechanism he's developed that shows potential to stop or slow the inflammatory changes in the brain which are believed to be involved in Alzheimer's disease.
Combs, who joined the UND medical school in 2000, has been studying the underlying causes of Alzheimer's and other neurogenerative diseases for 18 years. He is a member of an initial group of researchers in the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), funded through a five-year, $10.3 million grant from the NIH beginning in 2002. The five-year renewal of the COBRE grant, funded with $10.1 million from NIH, was announced by the UND medical school earlier this month.
The goal of the COBRE is to build research infrastructure and support young researchers whose work holds great promise in addressing the causes of neurodegenerative diseases, said Jonathan Geiger, COBRE principal investigator and chair and professor of pharmacology, physiology and therapeutics at the medical school. As the quality of their research begins to attract independent external funding, these researchers move off of COBRE and other young researchers receive COBRE support.
Combs is the first COBRE investigator to secure an RO1 grant, a type of grant through which NIH funds the most competitive research laboratories in the country, Geiger said. He represents how the COBRE program, created by NIH to funnel funding to schools that historically have not received substantial federal support for scientific research, is intended to work.
Combs' work is also supported by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
It is estimated that Alzheimer's disease affects more than five million Americans. About 411,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the United States. -- School of Medicine and Health Sciences.