Dr. Moom Roosan and Dr. Rachita Sumbria have been named recipients of the CUSP Collaboration Award, which awards inter-departmental collaborations within Chapman University School of Pharmacy for high-impact research that expands beyond one facet of understanding a critical issue in pharmacy healthcare. This award provides funding to generate pilot data for future larger awards. Dr. Roosan and Dr. Sumbria’s proposal, titled “Gene Signatures of Liver-Brain Crosstalk in Alzheimer’s Disease,” will focus on the relationship between the liver and brain in the context of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

Their research will investigate how modifiable risk factors for AD, including alcohol intake, impact the liver-brain axis in AD models, potentially leading to new therapeutic targets. Specifically, the researchers will analyze changes in gene expression resulting from modifiable risks in AD models.

Drs. Roosan and Sumbria will collaborate on their approach to identify gene signatures of liver-brain crosstalk which can pave the way to identify new drug targets. Dr. Sumbria’s team will conduct the experimental procedures with the AD models and NanoString technology, while Dr. Roosan’s team will apply bioinformatics methods to analyze the resulting transcriptomic data.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with no cure or effective therapies to end or reverse the disease. Chronic heavy alcohol intake is a significant modifiable risk factor for AD, however, there have been limited studies on the liver’s role in AD pathogenesis. The liver’s involvement may be significant because of its role in metabolizing alcohol and processing fats, so liver steatosis may lead to increased peripheral Aβ, contributing to brain amyloidosis and AD progression. This proposal will explore these mechanisms, and others, at the gene level, hoping to identify novel pathways and therapeutic targets for AD.

Dr. Yamaki and Dr. Elshahawi’s collaboration was also awarded the CUSP Collaboration Award for their proposal, “Developing Drug Leads to Inhibit C. difficile Bacterial Infection.