$350,000 NIH Grant Brings UT Dallas Biologist Closer
to Treatment Options for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s

July 31, 2008

UT Dallas Molecular and Cell Biology Professor Santosh D’Mello was recently awarded a $350,000 grant by the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke

The two-year grant bolsters efforts under way at UT Dallas to study neurodegenerative diseases. 

The institute is part of the National Institutes of Health.

D’Mello has long studied ways to understand what happens when brain cells die or degenerate.

His lab recently discovered that mice lacking a particular protein, histone deacetylase-4, suffer an abnormal loss of neurons in certain regions in their brain. 

According to his research, introducing this protein into cultured brain cells protected them from degenerating. 

The grant will support research into understanding exactly how HDAC4 prevents the degeneration of brain cells.

“We are excited about this project because finding out how his protein works could lead to the development of treatment strategies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” D’Mello said.

Preliminary data for the grant application was generated by Nazanin Majdzadeh, a UT Dallas graduate student who recently obtained her Ph.D. under Dr. D’Mello’s supervision, and by Lulu Wang, a research assistant in the lab.

In less than a decade at UT Dallas, D’Mello has secured more than $5.5 million in grants, from the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense.


Media contact: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, brandon.webb@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Dmello

Click to read Dr. Santosh D'Mello's faculty profile.

brain cells

The picture shows the organization of a class of brain cells called Purkinje neurons (stained reddish brown here for viewing) in the lobes of the cerebellum. The portion of the cerebellum of a normal mouse (left hand panel, marked +/+) and mouse lacking histone deacetylase-4 (right hand panel, marked -/-) is shown. The lobes on the right are shrunken and abnormally-shaped. They also show a loss of Purkinje cells (as evident from the loss of the reddish brown staining).

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