On May 5, 2015, at the annual meeting of The CART Fund, Wenjie Luo, Ph.D., Weill Cornell Medical College, of Cornell University, New York, NY was awarded a CART Grant in the amount of $100,000.
The scientific community believes that the build-up of a protein called tau causes tau to clump and tangle together. This clumping and tangling is destructive in the human brain. Dr. Luo has found out that brain “garbage eating” cells, called microglia, can take up and break down tau. She also noticed that tau can be cleaned up faster by microglia if she added another protein called tau antibody, which is made in the body in response to foreign substance.
Dr. Luo will investigate the mechanism of how microglia eat and cleanup tau in a petri-dish and further confirm her observations in mouse brain. The long term goal of her research project is to search for new drugs that can increase the activity of microglia in cleaning up tau so as to decrease the brain damage caused by tau buildup, prevent the decline of memory, and be beneficial to AD patients.