More than 5 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to triple by 2050, without prevention or cure. By 2060, the number of Latinos in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease is projected to increase 832 percent — from 379,000 in 2012, to more than 3.5 million, with these disparities remaining elusive. This grant will team researchers from UC San Diego and SDSU to form the San Diego Resource Center for advancing Alzheimer’s Research in Minority Seniors (SDRC-ARMS). The grant involves a partnership between the UC San Diego Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology and Department of Neurosciences, and San Diego State University’s Department of Psychology and Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. John Elder, distinguished Professor of Public Health, leads the latter component as Co-PI, with SDSU Director Dr. Hala Madanat a Co-Investigator as well. The primary PI is Dr. Alison Moore at UCSD, working there with Dr. Hector Gonzalez.
The SDRC-ARMS, one of the few selected National Institute on Aging’s newly-funded Alzheimer’s Disease -Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (AD-RCMAR), is an $800,000 per year, five-year grant, which will provide funding to support research investigators in the field and to move forward important research on Alzheimer’s disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) – particularly with a focus on Latinos. The project’s primary objective is to recruit, train and mentor investigators from underrepresented backgrounds, with an end goal of better addressing Alzheimer’s among the Latino population. SDRC-ARMS will provide mentorship, data, analytic and intellectual resources enabling new scientists in Southern California to produce impactful ADRD research, sustain their scientific careers with independent funding and accelerate scientific discoveries for better brain health of Latinos. “We want to help emerging scholars become independent and to have productive careers,” the projects primary PI Dr. Alison Moore of UCSD said. “The long-term goal is to cure Alzheimer’s. The formation of the center provides the strong support and mentorship that helps move us toward that goal.”
The grant is designed to highlight the strengths of the two universities – UCSD’s strength in behavioral, sociocultural, systems biology, and understanding of ADRD in Latinos and other populations; and SDSU’s strengths as a research-prolific Hispanic-serving institution with robust programs in public health and psychology, and vast experience in advancing the careers of Latinos. Multiple community organizations involved in Alzheimer’s research and support will become active partners in SDRC-ARMS, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s San Diego, Glenner Alzheimer’s Family Centers, and Southern Caregiver Resource Center. Scientists’ scholarship will be catalyzed by ongoing innovative neuroscientific research at UCSD, Salk Institute and the San Diego SOL Field Center at San Diego State University (SDSU).
“It’s essential that we fill critical gaps in Latino ADRD research, while catalyzing the research careers of investigators from underrepresented groups. We look forward to doing this in partnership with our two institutions and our community. In the end, we expect to have a meaningful impact on Alzheimer’s disease in the Latino population by fostering the success of the scientific workforce from Latino and other minority groups investigating this brain disease,” Dr. Moore said.