Funded by the National Institute on Aging, a new research project will aim to explore non-pharmacological interventions, such as sleep, diet, dietary supplements, etc., for Alzheimer's Disease and related dementia prevention.
Dr. Rui Zhang

According to the CDC, nearly 5.7 million Americans are currently affected by Alzheimer's disease (AD); by mid-century, this number will more than double, with an estimated 13.8 million people affected. 

Pharmacological intervention (PI) discovery research has not yet been translated into effective treatments, leading researchers to explore alternative opportunities with non-pharmacological interventions (NPI), such as sleep, diet, dietary supplements, etc., for AD and related dementia (AD/ADRD) prevention.

Principal Investigator, Rui Zhang, PhD, FAMIA, Founding Chief of the Division of Computational Health Sciences, along with Hua Xu, PhD, a collaborator at Yale University were awarded a new R01 grant totaling ~$3.9 million by the National Institute on Aging. The research grant will allow for the development of translational informatics approaches to aggregate, standardize and discover the effects of PI and NPI candidates on AD/ADRD using multimodal data resources such as literature, electronic health records (EHR), and clinical trials, followed by animal model validation.

To achieve this goal, Dr. Zhang proposes the following:

  1. Constructing a comprehensive Pharmacological And Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Alzheimer's Disease Knowledge Graph (PANIA-KG) from biomedical literature and other knowledge bases
  2. Detecting, understanding, and visualization of drug repurposing signals of PIs, NPIs & their synergistic effects for AD/ADRD using the PANIA-KG
  3. Re-ranking and validating individual and synergistic drug repurposing signals using multimodal data sources & animal models

The culmination of this project will result in a comprehensive NPI knowledge graph, novel informatics approaches, a ranked list of PI and NPI candidates, and validated synergistic intervention using multimodal data sources. These results will further their clinical investigations and clinical trial design, focusing on the synergistic effects of PIs and NPIs for AD/ADRD.

Congratulations, Dr. Zhang!