As one of its research missions, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) at the University of Pittsburgh funds one year pilot projects to stimulate new and innovative research relevant to Alzheimer’s disease. Types of research can range from basic science to psychosocial in methodology, with particular attention given to novel approaches. Proposed research may involve humans, other animals or in vitro studies. Particular attention is paid to the likelihood that subsequent extramural peer reviewed funding would ensue, since that is the NIA’s purpose in providing these funds.


  • 2016-2017
    • Understanding higher incidence of Alzheimer’s in African Americans with Proteomics – Rena Robinson, PhD
    • Mitochondrial DNA damage in brain and blood in Alzheimer’s disease  – Laurie Sanders, PhD
  • 2015-2016
    • The Longitudinal Relationship between Brain Amyloid Accrual and Decline in the Cognition-Mobility Interface in Clinically Normal Older Adults
      – Neelesh K. Nadkarni, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology
    • Cyb5R3 and Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Adam Straub, PhD, Assistant Professor Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
  • 2014-2015
    • Role of the sHsp-SUMO pathway in APP processing
      – Raymond A. Frizzell, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology, Director, Cystic Fibrosis Research Center
    • Cerebrovascular impairments and brain functional connectivity in Alzheimer’s disease
      – Tae Kim, PhD, Assistant professor, Department of Radiology
  • 2013-2014
    • Learning new fact knowledge through a basal ganglia reinforcement-learning system
      – Julie Fiez, PhD Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Communication Science and Disorders
    • Cerebrovascular Reactivity in Cognitively Normal and Mild Cognitive Impairment: an exploration of cerebrovascular dynamics in the presence of cerebral amyloid
      – Eric McDade, DO Assistant Professor, Dept of Neurology
    • Also funded through ADRC Donation Acct: Relationship between neural and vascular function as a function of a-beta plaque deposition and low-frequency oscillation energy
      – Alberto Vazquez, PhD., Research Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology and Bioengineering
    • Also funded through ADRC Donation Acct: Analysis of Synapse Loss in AD using a Novel Beta Amyloid Peptide Sensor
      – Zachary Wills, PhD., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Neurobiology
  • 2012-2013
    • The Effects of Aβ on the Glutamate Transporter Family
      – Susan G. Amara, Ph.D., Thomas Detre Professor and Chair Dept. of Neurobiology, Co-Director, Center for Neuroscience
    • Decision quality and the use of cardiac rhythm regulating devices in adults with cognitive impairment
      – Nicole R. Fowler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Dept. of Medicine
    • Supplemented with ADRC Donation Funds: Dendritic spine loss and synaptic vulnerability in Alzheimer disease with psychosis
      – Patrick Murray, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Department of Psychiatry
    • Also funded through ADRC Donation Acct: PiB binding to physiologically relevant aggregated states of Aβ peptides
      – Ronald Wetzel, Ph.D. (PI) Professor, Structural Biology
  • 2011-2012
    • Anti-diabetic secretagogues reduce hippocampal neuronal stress as a model system to study Alzheimer’s disease
      – Peter Drain, PhD, Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Physiology
    • Generation and characterization of oligomers/protofibrils from disulfide cross-linked Aβ(1-42)
      – Ravi Kodali, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Structural Biology
    • Also funded through ADRC Donation Acct: Interactive video gaming for mild cognitive impairment: A pilot study
      – Tiffany F. Hughes, PhD, MPH, Postdoctoral Fellow, Psychiatry
  • 2010 – 2011
    • The impact of physical activity on neurocognitive function in adults with cognitive impairment
      – PI: Kirk Erickson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology
    • Polo-like kinase 2 (PLK2)-specific small molecule inhibitors as chemical probes and potential therapies for AD
      – PI: Elizabeth Sharlow, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
  • 2009 – 2010
    • Effect of cognitive stimulation on the course of cognitive decline in amyloid-positive (PiB) non-demented older adults: a single-blind, randomized controlled trial
      – PI: Beth Snitz, PhD, Research Associate, Dept. of Neurology
    • Ultrahigh Field Mircroscopic In-Vivo/In-Vitro MR Imaging of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease
      – PI: Tamer S. Ibrahim, PhD, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and Radiology
  • 2008 – 2009
    • Neural Accumulation in the Parietal Cortex in Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease
      – PI: Mark Wheeler, PhD., Assistant Professor of Psychology
    • A Zebrafish Model of Alzheimer’s Disease
      – PI: Edward Burton, MBChB MD, DPhil, Assistant Professor ofNeurology
  • 2007-2008
    • Potential role for neuronal mitochondrial dynamics in Alzheimer’s disease: Response to APP and APpsw expression
      – Sarah Berman, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology
  • 2006-2007
    • Antiapoptotic Binding of Cytochrome C and Peroxidative Aggregation of alpha Synuclein
      – Hülya Bayir, M.D., Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine
    • Familiarity Impairment in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment: Behavioral and Structural MRI Correlates
      – David A. Wolk, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2005-2006
    • Molecular understanding of Aß peptide interactions with extracellular Alpha-synuclein
      – Pravat K. Mandal, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh
    • Alpha-Synuclein: Potential Effect on Tau and Lewy Body Dementia
      – Ruth G. Perez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2004-2005
    • The Role of Presenilin Complex Assembly and Trafficking in Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Meir Aridor, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology University of Pittsburgh
    • PET Detection of Macrophages in AD
      – Clayton A. Wiley, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2003-2004
    • LXR Ligands, Cholesterol Efflux and Abeta Generation
      – Iliya Lefterov, MD, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh | Radosveta P. Koldamova, MD, PhD, Instructor of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh
    • Exploration of the Validity of “Pain” Behaviors in Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Debra K. Weiner, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, & Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2002-2003
    • Optimization of Cerebral Perfusion Imaging for Dementia
      – H. Michael Gach, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Radiology, Primary Investigator | Tao Li, Ph.D., M.D., University of Pittsburgh Department of Radiology, Co-Investigator | Carolyn C. Meltzer, M.D., University of Pittsburgh Department of Radiology, Co-Investigator | Oscar L. Lopez, M.D., University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurology, Co-Investigator
    • Associations for Alzheimer’s Disease with Psychosis Using Positional Candidate Genes
      – Vishwajit L. Nimgaonkar, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Principal Investigator | Robert A. Sweet, M.D., University of Pittsburgh, Co-Investigator | Silviu-Alin Bacanu, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Co-Investigator
  • 2001-2002
    • Role of Estrogen in Metallothionein Expression and the Function of Basal Forebrain and Hippocampal Neurons
      – Donald DeFranco, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh
    • Mechanism of Apolipoprotein A-1 Protection Against Ab Neurotoxicity
      – Radosveta Koldamova, MD, PhD, Instructor of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2000-2001
    • In Vivo Imaging of Beta-Amyloid in Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Yanming Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh
    • Reducing Stress and Sleep Disturbances in Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients
      – Martica Hall, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry | Lynn Martire, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh
  • 1999-2000
    • Implicit Learning in Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Cameron S. Carter, MD | Howard J. Aizenstein MD, PhD | Robert D. Nebes, PhD
    • Presenilin’s Role in Differentiation and Apoptosis
      – Seth Corey, MD | Sergey Keryanov, PhD
    • Functional Studies of an Alpha-2-Macroglobulin Mutant Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Charleen T. Chu, MD, PhD
    • Role of Physiological Zinc Release and Heat Shock Protein Induction in Beta Amyloid Protein Aggregation
      – BethAnn McLaughlin, PhD | Elias Aizenman, PhD
  • 1998-1999
    • Endothelial Dysfunction in Response to APP695 Expression
      – Nadia Jahroudi, PhD
    • Development of Gene Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Darren P. Wolfe, PhD | Joseph C. Glorioso, PhD
  • 1997-1998
    • DNA Binding and Transcriptional Regulation by the FAC1 Protein, a Protein Re-expressed in Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Kelly Jordan, PhD | Robert Bowser, PhD
    • Dopamine Receptor Binding, Psychosis, and Agitation in Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Robert A. Sweet, MD
    • The Cellular Source of Neurotrophic Response in Alzheimer’s Disease
      – Lanling Zou, MD, PhD