The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $3.14 million grant to Jayakrishna Ambati, MD, and Bradley Gelfand, PhD, to further their research into cytosolic DNAs in aging and age-related disorders including age-related macular degeneration. The grant extends earlier discoveries of DNA that is produced in the cytoplasm made by Drs. Ambati and Gelfand through the Virginia Initiative to Accelerate Drugs awarded by the UVA Strategic Investment Fund.
The goal of this work is to characterize the landscape of cytosolic DNAs in young and aged tissues, to further delineate the mechanisms of its creation, and determine the mechanisms by which cells sense this mislocalized DNA. The researchers hope that the project will facilitate the transition of the field from observational discovery towards a deeper mechanistic understanding of the function and regulation of cytosolic DNAs and serve as the foundation for future translational efforts to prevent, delay, or reverse conditions of aging including age-related macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease.