USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute

Research News

  • Byrd NSI Investigator Dr. Blair launches a new VA-funded research program
    The Byrd Institute announces the award of a $950,000 Veterans Affairs (VA) grant to Laura Blair, PhD (link), an Assistant Professor of Molecular Medicine and a Byrd NSI Investigator. While the incidence of physical wounds has dropped in veterans, many soldiers are returning from deployment suffering from psychological wounds that manifest as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). The major goal of this 4-year study is to develop strategies to deplete the stress-associated protein FKBP51 while deepening the understanding of FKBP51 biology, with the long-range goal of enhancing the psychological resiliency of soldiers and veterans. Such efforts are also expected to help the general population suffering from stress-related neurological disorders that impair cognitive brain function.
  • Byrd Institute welcomes Dr. Gopal Thinakaran, PhD, an internationally recognized Alzheimer’s disease researcher from the department of Neurobiology at the University of Chicago. Supported by $5.5 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding, his research focuses on cutting-edge molecular and cellular processes underlying Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. At USF Health, Dr. Thinakaran will assume leadership roles as associate dean for neuroscience research, NSI associate director of research, and Bagnor Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Research. He will also serve as Professor of Molecular Medicine and Byrd Institute.

  • We are excited to welcome Dr. Angele Parent, PhD, from the University of Chicago. She studies how the brain remembers and what goes wrong with memory storage mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases, focusing on communication between nerve cells (synaptic transmission) and neuronal plasticity. She recently received a 5-year $1.75 million NIH grant to examine how changes in APP metabolism affect memory in sleep-disturbed Alzheimer’s models. Dr. Parent will serve as Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine and Byrd Institute.

  • Byrd Investigator Dr. Alexa Woo launches a new NIH-funded research program
    We are excited to announce the award of a $1.8 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to Dr. Jung A (Alexa) Woo, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology and a Byrd Investigator. Dr. Woo’s grant focuses on beta-arrestins, which are proteins classically known to bind and modify the function of cell surface receptors called GPCRs. Over the next 5 years, this grant will allow her to investigate how beta-arrestins alter the tau tangle protein to mitigate the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), possibly leading to new AD therapies.

  • Interview with Dr. Laura Blair
    The April 2019 issue of the eNeuro Journal, an official online scientific journal for the Society for Neuroscience, has featured an interview with Dr. Laura Blair, a Byrd investigator. In the interview, Dr. Blair talks about her recent publication in eNeuro describing the cellular and behavioral deficits in a transgenic mouse model in which the FKBP5 gene is overexpressed. Increased FKBP5 has been associated with several psychiatric disorders.  The interview goes on to describe her research philosophy and the focus of her laboratory. Full detailed transcript of the interview and paper can be found here.

  •  featured by eNeuro Press

  • The Byrd Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Lianchun Wang who has recently joined the Byrd Institute as a Professor of Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology.   
  • Byrd Institute welcomes Dr. Krishna Bhat, who has recently joined the Byrd Institute as a Professor of Molecular Medicine and the Goldsmith Endowed Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Jeremy Baker and Dr. Dylan Finneran for successfully defending their dissertations on November 9th, 2018. Dr. Baker, who also received the Chih Foundation Research and Publication award, will begin his postdoctoral training at the University of Washington and VA Puget Sound in early 2019.Dr. Finneran will be joining our former colleague, Dave Morgan, at Michigan State University. The USF Health-NSI wish Drs. Baker and Finneran great success in their future endeavors.