ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Scientists at Albany Medical College have been awarded $2,037,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study how specific molecules regulate calcium levels. Calcium levels that aren’t tightly controlled are a known factor in Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in muscular dystrophies and heart disease. 

Professor in the Department of Regenerative and Cancer Cell Biology, Kenneth Norman, Ph.D., is a leading researcher who will study how specific genes and proteins regulate calcium. They will use genetic manipulation and high-resolution live-cell microscopy to define the roles of specific molecules. The protein Presenilin often has mutations that are the most common cause of early-onset familial Alzheimer’s disease, but the exact mechanics aren’t known. 

Kenneth Norman, Ph.D.

“Understanding how genetic mutations impact calcium levels, and in turn factor in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, may provide crucial insight into the causes of these tragic diseases and, ultimately, new strategies to treat them,” said Dr. Norman. “Deciphering Molecular Mechanisms of Calcium Homeostasis,” the five-year study is funded by a MIRA (Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award) grant from the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).