NYIT assistant professor scores $438K NIH grant



More than 6 million Americans are said to have Alzheimer’s, a disease that triggers problems with memory, thinking and behavior, according to medical experts.

Those numbers are expected to grow as the population ages. And while there are limited treatments for mild-to-moderate symptoms, more research is needed to treat the disease, according to the experts.

Jole Fiorito is working on a drug to treat the neurodegenerative disease. An assistant professor at New York Institute of Technology, Fiorito secured a three-year $438,583 grant from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. That funding will support research into early-stage drug development to treat Alzheimer’s.

Fiorito is the principal investigator of the team, which also consists of co-investigators Michael Hadjiargyrou, professor and chair of biological and chemical sciences, and Raddy Ramos, associate professor of biomedical sciences, both from New York Tech. Also on the team is Dr. Ottavio Arancio, a professor of pathology, cell biology and medicine at Columbia University.

The investigators will train and supervise five New York Tech undergraduates, who will participate in the research project.

Fiorito joined New York Tech in 2017. In her  earlier research, while at Columbia University, she “helped develop molecules to improve the signaling pathway that is found to be impaired in Alzheimer’s patients,” according to a New York Tech news release about the NIH funding.

“My research goal is to develop molecules that can act on two different targets that impact the disease at the same time in order to have a greater effect than each on their own,” she said in a statement.

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Now, she and her team aim to develop a single-drug treatment to stop the disease’s progression while reducing the side effects that can be triggered by taking multiple drugs.

“Results from this study will advance our knowledge on the synthetic feasibility and therapeutic potential of these small molecules and will open avenues of opportunity for the discovery of a novel therapeutic candidate,” she said.


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