The research team of Amit Reddi and Levi Wood never has collaborated on a project. Nor have their fellow Petit Institute faculty members, Phil Santangelo and Francesca Storici.
But that’s all about to change, thanks to the Petit Institute Seed Grant Program, which is awarding $50,000 a year to each team for the next two years ($100,000 total), to support their early stage, interdisciplinary work.
In their study entitled “Illuminating the role of heme in Alzheimer’s disease,” Reddi and Wood are proposing a paradigm-shifting new hypothesis that the iron-containing compound heme is a key driver of Alzheimer’s.
The plan is to explore the role of heme in the disease pathogenesis by integrating genetically encoded ratiometric fluorescent heme sensors developed by the Reddi lab with neuroinflammation systems analysis and innovative 3-D cell culture models of Alzheimer’s developed by Wood’s lab.
“We believe that this proposal is transformative,” Reddi and Wood note in their grant application.
Reddi is an assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Wood is an assistant professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.
Santangelo and Storici share an interest in DNA and RNA metabolic processes in neuronal cells and have complementary expertise, which they expect to synergize effectively in a project they’ve entitled, “RNA-templated DNA repair and editing in neuronal cells.”
Santangelo is an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and Storici is an associate professor in the School of Biology.
Their research aims to demonstrate the potential of RNA to be a template for precise repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) in neuronal cells, thus pioneering a new direction in the field of genome stability and neurobiology.
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