Gordon Fellow Receives Marie Curie Fellowship Award

01/03/2018


Dr. Heidi Jacobs, Instructor at HMS/MGH in the Johnson Lab has received a Marie Curie Fellowship Award for her work on molecular imaging of Alzheimer’s disease.

The classic neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease are amyloid-beta and tau, two proteins that accumulate in a specific topographic pattern many years before clinical symptoms are noticeable. Animal studies have suggested that connectivity may drive the spread of these proteins. Dr. Jacobs' aims in this project are two-fold: first, she aims to investigate whether neuronal connectivity determines the spread of and the interaction between both proteins, and how this is related to memory problems. Second, she aims to investigate the origin of tau pathology. Autopsy studies have pointed to specific brainstem nuclei as the first region of tau deposition. It is her aim to investigate associations between brainstem measures and amyloid and tau pathology. To achieve this, Dr. Jacobs aims to combine novel molecular and state-of-the-art magnetic neuroimaging techniques with statistical modeling techniques within the group of Prof. Keith Johnson.

In addition, Dr. Jacob's related paper on "Structural tract alterations predict down-stream tau accumulation in amyloid positive older individuals" was recently accepted to Nature Neuroscience:
Using longitudinal multimodal imaging data collected in healthy older individuals, we provided in vivo evidence in humans that amyloid deposition facilitates tau spread along structurally connected pathways and this combination of events is associated with memory decline. (Supported by Alzheimer Nederland)

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