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Federal funding to aid dementia research at Upstate Medical University

By Eric Reinhardt


A faculty member at Upstate Medical University will use nearly $700,000 in federal funding for dementia research. PHOTO CREDIT: ZOEYADVERTISING.COM

SYRACUSE — Research into one of the leading forms of dementia at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse is getting a boost from federal funding of more than $680,000.

The money comes from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a division of the National Institute of Health (NIH), the office of U.S. Representative John Katko (R–Camillus) said.

The funds will allow Upstate Medical to continue research on neurological disorders. The organization has a team of researchers working to advance treatments and cures for neurological disorders.

“Having witnessed my father develop and ultimately pass away from Alzheimer’s, I understand the physical, financial, and emotional burden dementia can have on those who suffer, their caretakers, and their families,” Katko said. “In Congress, I’ve consistently supported efforts to robustly fund the NIH, which provides critical federal funding to support the development of the next generation of treatment and cures. I’m glad this new funding will be used to help the dedicated neurology research team at SUNY Upstate continue their work to prevent, diagnose, and treat neurological disorders.”

During his time in Congress, Katko successfully advocated for additional funding for the NIH, and most recently urged the House Appropriations Committee to authorize over $46 billion for the NIH in fiscal year 2022, his office said.

About the research

Wei-Dong Yao

The new funding for Upstate Medical will specifically support research by Wei-Dong Yao, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and neuroscience and physiology. Yao is researching frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the leading dementia most prevalent before age 65 and the most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.

Yao’s study represents the first attempt to investigate the role of a new disease gene in FTD pathogenesis. The proposed studies are “fundamentally important and highly significant” because they have the potential to uncover novel pathogenic mechanisms and treatment strategies for FTD and related neurodegenerative diseases, Katko’s office said.

Yao is an Empire Scholar and joined Upstate from Harvard University in 2014 through the SUNY’s Empire Innovation Program.

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