|Medical School receives grant funding|
Jonathan Geiger, professor and chair of pharmacology, physiology and therapeutics at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has received funding from Johns Hopkins University Medical School and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for studies related to the dementia that afflicts patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The studies, analyzing new methods and mechanisms that may be targeted to help treat HIV-dementia, will be conducted in collaboration with Norman Haughey, principal investigator on the two grants and assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md.
The five-year grants, totaling $2,325,000, from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute of Mental Health will fund studies aimed at deepening scientists’ understanding of the mechanisms which lead to dementia in HIV/AIDS patients. Designated as RO1 grants, they are among the most highly ranked grants awarded by the NIH.
“Due to the increased effectiveness of treatments that have been developed for HIV, patients with this disease are living longer and the incidence of HIV-dementia has decreased,” said Geiger, a co-investigator on these grants.
“However, because people living with HIV/AIDS are living longer and are exposed to a number of other disorders and the ingestion of various drugs of abuse, including alcohol, the prevalence of HIV-dementia is increasing,” he said. “This underscores the importance of studying this form of dementia which is the most common form found in persons under 40 years of age.”
“It’s important to identify new therapeutic interventions designed to improve, or prevent further decline in, brain function because current treatments have had limited success,” he added.
“Our goal is to investigate underlying mechanisms in HIV-dementia and to identify effective interventions against the neurological complications experienced by HIV-infected individuals,” Geiger said.
“We are very pleased and proud of the success that Dr. Geiger and his colleagues have had in this area of brain research that is both important and timely and has earned a significant investment by the NIH,” said H. David Wilson, dean of the UND Medical School. “This is especially impressive, given the highly competitive atmosphere of the federal research funding environment.”
The NIH grant projects are titled “Dysfunctions of Sphingolipid and Sterol Metabolism in HIV-Dementia” and “Interaction of Alcohol with HIV Proteins.” -- School of Medicine and Health Sciences.