August 2023 – Our nation is at an inflection point in the battle against Alzheimer’s, dementia, and related neurological disorders. With millions of patients and families impacted by these conditions, and an aging population, we urgently need new treatments and therapeutic options. UVA Health’s 2022–2032 strategic plan, “One Future Together: Health and Hope for All,” addresses these issues by strengthening the University’s translational research enterprise and becoming a hub for scientific discoveries that will ultimately lead to improved clinical care. Additionally, UVA’s $75 million Grand Challenges Research Initiative in neuroscience is providing extensive resources to understand the brain and improve outcomes for those dealing with neurodegenerative diseases.
Harald Sontheimer, Ph.D., the Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of Neuroscience, who joined UVA in 2021 as chair of the Department of Neuroscience, is leading UVA to the forefront of neuroscience discoveries and new treatments. His groundbreaking discoveries on the role of astrocytes in Alzheimer’s pathology are bringing significant new understanding of the disease that may lead to novel treatments and therapies. We recently asked Sontheimer to discuss his transformational work and that of his fellow neuroscience researchers at UVA.