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UM researcher awarded funding from Research Manitoba and the Alzheimer’s Society Research Program

June 24, 2024 — 

Dr. Jillian Stobart, assistant professor in the UM College of Pharmacy, has been awarded the Alzheimer Society Research Program New Investigator Grant of $200,000, over four years, from the Alzheimer Society of Canada and Research Manitoba for her pioneering project: Reducing astrocyte P2Y1 receptor signaling to slow Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Stobart’s research aims to explore the role of astrocytes, star-shaped glial (non-neural) cells in the brain and spinal cord crucial for brain function, which become abnormal in Alzheimer’s disease. This abnormality may cause cell death and damage, contributing to the memory loss and sensory problems experienced by patients. Stobart’s study will focus on the P2Y1 receptor on astrocytes, which increases during Alzheimer’s disease and may cause astrocytes to damage other brain cells, leading to memory loss and other symptoms.

By genetically reducing astrocyte P2Y1 receptors, Stobart and her team expect to see improved brain cell survival and function. With improved brain cell survival and function, the findings will enhance the understanding of brain damage in Alzheimer’s patients and pave the way for developing astrocyte P2Y1 receptor blocker drugs to slow the progression of this devastating disease.

“Funding programs like the New Investigator Grant allow early career researchers to establish new projects and get their research program rolling,” says Stobart. “I would like to thank the Alzheimer’s Society and Research Manitoba for this important financial support.”

The Alzheimer’s Society Research Program has been one of Canada’s most innovative funding programs since 1989 and has invested $73 million in research toward a future where Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are eradicated. Research Manitoba funding for new investigators is vital in supporting the growth of Manitoba-based researchers.

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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