Ferrum College Professor Receives Grant for Alzheimer's Research.
Megan St. Peters, Ph.D. received the grant for her work on attention disorders in
Ferrum, Va. (August 30, 2012) – Ferrum College announced today that Megan M. St. Peters, Ph.D., assistant professor
of psychology, has been awarded a grant in the amount of $39,940 from Alzheimer's
and Related Diseases Research Award Fund (ARDRAF) for her work on attentional impairments
in the brain.
St. Peters’ research, entitled Who Forgot the Hippocampus? Potential Involvement
in the Neural Circuitry of Attentional Control, explores the relationship between
important stimuli and irrelevant stimuli to the brain with respect to an individual’s
ability to remember properly. Dr. St. Peters’ project uses a rodent model to examine
the influence of the hippocampus section of the brain on performance in cognitive
tasks when irrelevant distractors are introduced.
“There is a strong body of research that suggests that attentional impairments largely
contribute to memory problems associated with Alzheimers’ Disease,” said St. Peters.
“We wanted to examine the role of the hippocampus, a brain region commonly associated
with memory loss.”
"This sort of translational research is critical to a better understanding of the
neurobehavioral substrates underlying cognitive function, its impairment, and the
development of better therapeutic treatments. The ARDRAF subjects applications to
a rigorous competitive review process, but the Awards Committee was impressed with
the investigator's qualifications. They were united in their confidence about the
likely success of this project. In addition, there is no doubt the project will generate
preliminary data that will be helpful in garnering subsequent grant funding," said
Constance Coogle Ph.D., Associate Director for Research at the Virginia Center on
Aging, which administers the ARDRAF grants.
The grant provides funds for critical equipment and supplies to establish and maintain
the new research facilities at the College. It also includes a stipend for students
to engage in the research. “This grant will afford a unique opportunity for our students
by enabling them to contribute new knowledge to the scientific community,” said St.
Peters. “They will also gain skills in the use of cutting edge research equipment,
giving them a strong foundation for their entry into post-baccalaureate programs.”
The Alzheimer's and Related Diseases Research Award Fund was established by the Virginia
General Assembly in 1982 to stimulate innovative investigations into Alzheimer's disease.
Other institutions receiving ARDRAF funding this year include: The University of Virginia,
Marymount University, and two recipients at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“Alzheimer’s Disease is tragic for so many families. Megan’s interest in this field
represents groundbreaking research in the fight against the disease. We congratulate
Megan on the grant which is a testimony to the depth and scope of her work,” said
Ferrum College President, Dr. Jennifer L. Braaten.
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