Past Pilot Grant Recipents
The University of California, Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center (UCD ADC) invites applications for pilot research grants with support from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Alzheimer's Disease Center (ADC)funds.
Investigators: Harvey, Danielle J., Ph.D.
Title: A Spatial Decomposition of White Matter Hyperintensities
Description:The proposed research in this pilot study will develop data reduction methods to better capture information about dementia contained in structural magnetic resonance images (MRI). These images comprise a very complex data set in which measures are available at each of thousands of volume elements or voxels. In addition to large numbers of observations per image, these data are structurally and spatially organized and are likely to be highly correlated, at least within regions or local areas of the brain. One measure of disease captured in an image is that of white matter hyperintensities (WMH). The most common data analytic strategy is to reduce the WMH data to a single number summary, such as the volume of WMH in the entire brain or in specific regions of the brain. However, these summaries ignore the continuous measure of intensity level and also the spatial relationship of neighboring voxels or voxels near important structures in the brain. Therefore, it is desirable to develop alternative numerical summaries that include both level and location, that make statistical and biological sense, that capture a significant portion of the between-person variability, and that can be applied in a practical setting. The specific aims of this research are:
- To develop an orthogonal decomposition of the WMH that accounts for the spatial structure of the brain and that is biologically plausible and algebraically sensible.
- To determine if this decomposition accounts for a significant amount of between-person variation in the distribution of WMH using simulated imaging data.
- To investigate the distribution of WMH in normal controls and cognitively impaired subjects by using the decomposition to test a hypothesis that with increasing total WMH volume, the maximal average distance of the WMH from the ventricles increases.
Investigators: Jones, Edwards G.
Murray, Karl, D
Title: Molecular Targets of Alzheimer’s Disease
One of the earliest manifestations of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is an impairment in the ability to form and retrieve memories for recent events (episodic memories). Numerous studies suggest that regions in the medial temporal lobes (MTL) are critical for episodic memory. Accordingly, research on how MTL regions contribute to memory should provide a relevant foundation for new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to AD. At present, little is known about the functional organization of the MTL and how different MTL subregions might contribute to memory. For example, behavioral research has supported the idea that the experiences of familiarity and recollection (e.g., recognizing a face as familiar versus recalling the associated name) might be supported by distinct representations, but we know little about how computations in distinct MTL subregions might relate to these forms of memory. The current project will utilize converging evidence from two methods—functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) —to precisely characterize the differential contributions of two MTL subregions—the hippocampal region and the parahippocampal region— to familiarity and recollection. The proposed experiments will be directed toward the aims of identifying how different MTL regions contribute to familiarity and recollection by examining activity in these regions during the formation and retrieval of memories for newly learned information