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2013 Grants - Hestekin
Microchip Electrophoresis for Amyloid Oligomer Detection
Christa Hestekin, Ph.D.
University of Arkansas
2013 New Investigator Research Grant
Beta-amyloid, a protein fragment that can be toxic to nerve cells, are thought to play a key role in Alzheimer's disease. The most toxic forms of beta-amyloid are created when a small number of the fragments clump together into what scientists call oligomers. Although many scientists are studying beta-amyloid oligomers, these studies are challenging in part because some oligomers exist for very short times, making them difficult to identify or study using existing methods.
Christa Hestekin, Ph.D., and colleagues have been working to develop a new method for identifying and isolating beta-amyloid oligomers, including those that exist for brief periods of time. They have proposed studies to advance the development of this new method. The method, called microchip electrophoresis, uses electrical current to separate different oligomers from a very small sample and in a very small space. This method has the potential to identify as-yet unknown oligomers, some of which may account for much of the toxicity of beta-amyloid. The new method also requires much smaller samples, potentially making it useful in a much broader range of scientific studies than existing methods. The development of this new method could be a major advance for scientists around the world studying the role of beta-amyloid oligomers in Alzheimer's disease.