Home » UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging receives $14.5 million

UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging receives $14.5 million

LEXINGTON, Ky.  — The University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) has received $14.5 million in renewed funding for its Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) program from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The five-year award will allow UK to remain among the leaders in Alzheimer’s disease research and associated neurodegenerative disorders. It will support research, teaching, outreach and service activities and a multidisciplinary team involving 26 faculty members from 14 academic departments, and 29 postdoctoral and staff members.

The UK-ADRC is part of a national network of federally funded and designated research programs based in academic medical settings. Initially funded in 1985, UK was one of the original 10 ADRCs in the United States. The ultimate goal of the UK-ADRC is to catalyze pioneering basic, translational and clinical research in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias while ensuring a more rapid rate of progress toward new therapies so that volunteers and their families become the beneficiaries of advances in knowledge.

Mark Ebbert and his research assistants on August 5, 2021. Photo by Pete Comparoni | UK photo

The grant will provide funding for the ADRC’s six signature Cores (Administrative, Clinical, Neuropathology, Biomarker, Data Management & Statistics, and Outreach, Recruitment & Engagement), six developmental pilot projects, and five junior scholar training positions over the five-year funding period under the direction of Linda J. Van Eldik, Ph.D., director of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, co-director of the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute. The upcoming funding cycle represents years 36 to 40 of continuous funding of the ADRC.

In addition to research, the UK-ADRC is also dedicated to growing education and outreach programs, family support, and community partnerships to promote awareness of the center and the resources and services provided.

Over the last five years, some of what the UK-ADRC has achieved includes:

  • Supported 114 federally funded research grants and 31 nonfederal funding awards.
  • Supported 204 direct and 86 indirect publications that have contributed substantially to a better understanding of basic and clinical aspects of Alzheimer’s and related diseases.
  • Leveraged resources to fund 17 pilot projects testing novel research ideas. The 14 completed projects generated 33 publications and 10 successful grants. This extramural funding from NIH represents an outstanding >23-fold return on investment.
  • Supported 42 clinical trials testing potential new medicines or lifestyle interventions.
  • Supported 19 training or fellowship awards; 202 collaborative studies with institutions, industry, ADRC cooperatives, and other collaborators; and five grants related to underrepresented groups.
  • Provided extensive Neuropathology Tissue Bank specimens. The Neuropathology Core provided a total of 18,458 biosamples to laboratories around the world.
  • Achieved successful minority recruitment and outreach and new community partnerships.
  • Recruited and onboarded 15 new translational/clinical faculty into the SBCoA since 2010 with all conducting impactful research relevant to UK-ADRC goals. These recruitments join a cadre of other outstanding investigators in the SBCoA, supported by UK-ADRC resources, who are doing cutting-edge research in healthy brain aging and dementia.

The continuously replenished longitudinal cohort, which is a type of research study that follows large groups of people over an extended time, was established in 1989. The cohort consists of about 500 cognitively normal volunteers and about 200 additional individuals who transitioned to mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

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