Impact of Next Generation Research Grants
The American Brain Foundation was founded to bring researchers and donors together in the fight against brain disease. Our Next Generation Research Grants have provided millions of dollars to fund the innovative research of early-career investigators, encouraging passion for research and laying the groundwork for future success.
Meet the Class of 2021
Jonathan Brent, MD, PhD
Mutations in KIF5A, a type of motor protein, have been identified in patients with ALS. Dr. Brent will study how these motor proteins function in neurons, and how and why mutations in these proteins may cause ALS. His research has the potential to impact how ALS is identified and treated, leading to improved treatments and quality of life for people with this incurable disease.
Alexander Gill, MD, PhD
Dr. Gill’s research will study NLRX1, a protein that plays a role in the immune system. Recent studies have shown a correlation between the loss of NLRX1 and an increase in neuroinflammation.
Helen Hwang, MD, PhD
By using innovative imaging techniques, Dr. Hwang intends to analyze cerebrospinal fluid to identify biomarkers for Parkinson’s. New biomarkers may aid in early diagnosis and monitoring, as well as the development of new therapeutics.
Renatta Knox, MD, PhD
Dr. Knox will study the DUX-4 protein as a potential cause of Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy and will examine gene modification therapy to potentially block the DUX-4 protein from being released.
Ikjae Lee, MD
Dr. Lee’s project will seek to identify lipidome biomarkers that are associated with faster disease progression, and will examine whether serum lipidome and lipoprotein composition are significant predictors of ALS. This research could point to metabolic alterations and nutritional deficits that could help to explain why ALS progresses more quickly in some patients.
Paul Sampognaro, MD
Dr. Sampognaro’s research will help to clarify the disease mechanism of ALS and identify new therapeutic targets for treatment.
Samuel Terman, MD
Dr. Terman will study the effect of anti-seizure medications discontinuation on seizure relapse risk and create an individualized risk calculator of seizure relapse for both discontinuation and continuation of anti-seizure medications. This research will help doctors and patients make better treatment decisions by estimating the risks and benefits of discontinuing anti-seizure medications.
Reem Waziry, MBBCh, MPH, PhD
Dr. Waziry will develop biological age measurements assessed through a routine blood test to study whether biological age can help predict cognitive outcomes for stroke survivors. This project will also help researchers learn more about racial disparities in stroke risk and outcomes.
Wai-Ying Wendy Yau, MD
The goal of Dr. Yau’s research is to discover the connections between early vascular risk and white matter injury. By identifying biomarkers in the white matter, Dr. Yau hopes to connect these indicators to higher vascular risk in order to slow the rate of cognitive decline and promote healthier brain aging.
Meet Our Past Researchers
Each year, the American Brain Foundation supports researchers across the whole spectrum of brain disease. Learn more about the researchers, projects and brain diseases from previous years below.
American Academy of Neurology – Our Founder & Research Partner
American Epilepsy Society
Muscle Study Group
The ALS Association
American Heart Association
The Mary E. Groff Charitable Trust
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America
Society of Vascular and Interventional Neurology
McKnight Brain Research Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Tourette Association of America