Heather Ferris, MD, PhD Awarded Two Grants for $3 Million to Study How Brain Cholesterol Impacts Risk for Alzheimer’s

January 12, 2023 by jta6n@virginia.edu

Heather Ferris

Heather Ferris, MD, PhD

Heather Ferris, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and a member of the Neuroscience Department, was awarded a 5 year, $2.4 million grant and a 1 year $0.5 million grant from the NIH to study how brain cholesterol regulates both ApoE and gamma-secretase, an enzyme that makes amyloid beta. Both ApoE and amyloid beta are key proteins involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Metabolic disorders, including elevated cholesterol, are associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These projects seek to understand whether changing the pathways controlling production of cholesterol in the brain can reduce the development of Alzheimer’s pathologies. The outcomes of these studies could lead to new therapeutic approaches to the prevention or treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ku-Lung (Ken) Hsu, PhD in the Department of Chemistry is a collaborator on both of these awards.

Read more about Dr. Ferris’ lab.

Filed Under: Faculty, Honors & Awards, Research