Tempe, AZ

Two ASU researchers win the Scialog Award for their study in neurological diseases

Alistair Dominguez

TEMPE, AZ - Two researchers from Arizona State University have been included in six multidisciplinary teams to be awarded the 2021 Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award. They studied about bacterial outer membrane vesicles lead to the development of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's disease.

They are Abhishek Shrivastava, an assistant professor in the School of Life Sciences and the Biodesign Institute, and David J. Durgan, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and cellular and molecular physiology at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Shrivastava and Durgan studied the connection between toothbrushing and diseases like Alzheimer's. It might sound uncanny, but they found that the less a human brushes their teeth, the higher number of bacteria in their mouths. Those bacteria then produce specific proteins that will eventually go to the brain and cause neurological diseases.

This award is the branch of the first Scialog: Microbiome, Neurobiology and Disease virtual conference back in April. More than fifty scientists initiated research in the effort to raise our understanding of the human brain from its chemical, microbial, and immunological levels.

“What was encouraging about this award was to receive funding for an idea — which I think is kind of high-risk, high-reward in a sense,” Shrivastava said. “To have the freedom to implement that was very satisfying. Even more than that, having a collaboration of the kind that I have established through this at a different university was very helpful.”

For this study, Shrivastava worked with eight people in his lab, including three Ph.D. students, three postdoctoral students, and each master's degree student and undergraduate student.

The award is a $55,000 fund as support for Shrivastava's study for the next one year. After this award, Shrivastava and Durgan is applying for other grants for their study.

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