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A U.S. foundation will finance a research project of the CIMA of the University of Navarra concerning neuronal pathologies

The team led by Dr. Isabel Pérez-Otaño will attempt to decipher the earliest damage caused by Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson´s Disease

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FOTO: Manuel Castells
15/05/07 11:48 Mª Pilar Huarte

The NARSAD Foundation (National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression) of the U.S. has awarded Dr. Isabel Pérez-Otaño, a researcher at the CIMA of the University of Navarra, with a Young Investigator Award. This award of 60,000 dollars (some 44,000 euros) will finance a project on neuronal pathologies. The team led by this scientist will study the earliest damage caused by diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease.

The objective of the research project is the design of therapies for treating the disease from its beginnings. Recent studies suggest that these ailments may originate in a failure of the synapses, the microscopic structures that connect neurons among themselves, and whose health is critical for the correct functioning of neuronal circuits.

From California to Pamplona

Dr. Pérez-Otaño joined the CIMA in 2004, after a long stay in the USA, first at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies of San Diego (California) and later at Duke University (North Carolina), where she specialized in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology. At the CIMA of the University of Navarra she has created and directed the Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology.

The American foundation NARSAD is the largest non-profit organization which finances research concerning brain disorders and behavioral disorders. It aids researchers who seek therapies for treating mental illnesses and developmental disorders, as well as neurodegenerative diseases, since all of these appear to share symptoms and etiopathogenic aspects (the factors that cause the disease).