(Boston)--Carmela Abraham, PhD, professor of biochemistry and pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine, was one of six recipients of this year's Massachusetts Neuroscience Consortium Award out of nearly 60 applicants. The grant was awarded to her for her work on multiple sclerosis and the role of the life extension protein Klotho in the limited repair of white matter in the disease.
The Consortium gives the award to those doing translational research in neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases--such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, neuropathic pain and treatment-resistant depression.
Although Abraham has devoted her entire career to the study of the molecular mechanisms leading to normal brain aging and the pathological processes that culminate in Alzheimer's, she discovered that Klotho is a neuroprotective protein that has beneficial effects in animal models of both Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. Since Klotho is significantly reduced in the brain during normal aging and in Alzheimer's disease, Abraham and her colleagues searched for and identified molecules that can increase Klotho levels in the brain. She is hoping to exploit these molecules to create new treatments to prevent brain aging, neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases.
Abraham received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Tel Aviv University and her PhD in neuroscience from Harvard University. In addition to winning this award, she is the recipient of The Neuroscience Education and Research Foundation Award for an Outstanding Promise as a Young Alzheimer Investigator (1990). She has received two of the highest awards from the Alzheimer's Association - The Zenith Award (1994) and the Temple Award (1999).
The Consortium was founded in 2012 by Massachusetts Life Sciences as a way to bring together researchers, private companies and the government in order to accelerate budding translational neuroscience research. Participating companies include AbbVie, Biogen Idec, EMD Serono, Janssen Research & Development, Merck, Pfizer and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals. Each company pledged money to support the grant winners, totaling $1.5 million.