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Neurological Disease Scientist Awarded Prestigious NINDS Grant to Advance Research

Gladstone Senior Investigator and Professor of Neurology at UCSF, Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, was recently awarded a multi-million-dollar grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The prestigious, R35 grant will fund the advancement of Dr. Akassoglou’s current research on the role of the brain’s vascular and immune systems in neurological diseases.

The NINDS Research Program Award will fund Dr. Akassoglou’s research over the next eight years. The award is given to accomplished researchers who have made significant strides in their field and show promise for future success. The award is structured so that researchers have more flexibility for long-term research, thus encouraging creative and innovative research and a more stable lab atmosphere.

Dr. Akassoglou’s career work has emphasized multiple sclerosis (MS) and the biological “triggers” that effect brain immunology. Specifically, her work linked blood proteins that seep into the brain with neurological disease. Such proteins damage brain cells and evoke a response from the immune system, which triggers inflammation and neuron death. She identified one blood protein, fibrinogen, strongly implicated in multiple sclerosis and a possible therapeutic target for the disease. She aims to understand the interaction between the brain, blood vessels, and immune system at the molecular level in order to discover therapeutic targets for neurological diseases.

The Gladstone Institute where Dr. Akassoglou has her lab is an independent, non-profit research organization affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco. The institute seeks to do the greatest good by using visionary science and technology to overcome unsolved diseases of the brain, heart, and immune system with the most profound medical, economic, and social impact.

For more information: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-09/gi-gir090816.php

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