Veena Nair, PhD and Nagesh Adluru, PhD received their first R01 grant awarded as Principal Investigators from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and National Institute on Aging (NIA) for their project, “Stroke connectome MRI biomarkers for vascular contributions to cognitive impairments and dementia (VCID) risk assessment.” The team was awarded $3.5 million to be used over a 5-year period, starting in April 2022.
This cross-departmental grant also includes co-investigators: Vivek Prabhakaran, MD, PhD (Radiology), Justin Sattin, MD (Neurology), Robert Dempsey, MD (Neurosurgery), Ozioma Okonkwo, PhD (Medicine/ADRC), Dorothy Farrar-Edwards, PhD (Kinesiology), Bruce Hermann, PhD and Jana Jones, PhD (Neuropsychology), Lu Mao, PhD (Biostatistics & Medical Informatics), and Andrew Alexander, PhD (Medical Physics & Psychiatry).
This research project named “will rigorously test its central overarching hypothesis that vascular risk factors, baseline cognitive and brain health, incident damage due to ischemic stroke, and brain changes after the stroke will act in concert to determine the likelihood of a stroke patient developing VCID. These factors will act through three important biological pathways in the brain, namely its perfusion, structure, and connectivity, which will be characterized by applying advanced MRI methods.”
Drs. Nair and Adluru are looking forward to successfully implement this interdisciplinary collaborative project: “Successful completion of this project will lead to a deeper scientific understanding of the currently unclear biological interactions between vascular risk factors and stroke MRI biomarkers of the brain that mediate longitudinal cognitive outcomes after an ischemic stroke. The biological understanding and models of VCID likelihood index resulting from our project will lay the foundation for early identification of stroke patients at risk, positively alter disease progression, and reduce the illness burden due to post stroke VCID.”
Drs. Nair and Adluru credit Dr. Prabhakaran’s mentorship as a reason they received their first R01 grant. They commented, “Dr. Prabhakaran helped us through every step of the grant since the very conception. We had countless hours long Teams sessions with him editing/reframing/polishing the specific aims, research strategy and all of the supporting documents.”