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Study of Aging in Brain Could Lead to Treatments for Alzheimer’s, Other Neurological Diseases

By Maria Herd M.A. ’19

A $2.7 million award from the National Institutes of Health will fund a multi-campus University of Maryland study targeting how aging impacts the brain.

Working with medical experts at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), biology Professor Michael Cummings of the University of Maryland, College Park will further his research on aging and traumatic brain injury in mice, which could eventually contribute to treatments for age-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The funding will be spread across four years, supporting Cummings’ team in work that uses machine learning techniques to interpret data sets of different “-omics” groups—genome, proteome, transcriptome, epigenome and microbiome. Cummings, who has an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, will develop software tools that can assess the brain’s changes in lipids and proteins.

Cummings is collaborating with UMB researchers Maureen Kane, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and Marta Lipinski, an associate professor of anesthesiology. Their project was spurred by seed funding from AI + Medicine for High Impact (AIM-HI), an initiative joining faculty from both campuses to tackle major issues that require expertise in artificial intelligence and medicine. The initiative supports projects that have high potential for scientific breakthroughs and are likely to secure larger federal awards.

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