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Salk Institute Scientists Awarded $1.2 Million for Study of Brain Aging and Dementia

Scientists at the Salk Institute were awarded $1.2 million from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation to research the process of aging and how it relates to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

The Larry L. Hillblom Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports medical research and connects researchers throughout California. The award, a Network Grant from the foundation, will be distributed over four years to the team of Salk scientists.

The research effort is led by Professor John Reynolds and other team members include Salk President and professor Rusty Gage, staff scientist Uri Manor, senior staff researcher Courtney Glavis-Bloom and Carol Marchetto, an assistant professor at the University of California San Diego.

“Aging is the greatest risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases, yet we know very little about how the brain ages across the life span,” said Gage. “With this generous new funding from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, we will be able to explore this scientific mystery and hope to uncover some of the basic mechanisms of brain aging.”

The research team will examine the link between metabolism of the aging brain and cognitive decline. One of the main theories the Salk scientists will dive into is whether mitochondrial impairment is driving the cognitive decline observed in neurodegenerative diseases.