Hospital del Mar Research Institute Hospital del Mar Research Institute


17/10/2022 - Institutional news

A study on Alzheimer's disease by the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute is selected for the BBVA Foundation Leonardo 2022 grants

It will analyse the role the circadian rhythm alteration of intestinal microbiota plays in the development of Alzheimer's disease. The project is one of the sixty selected in the ninth call for applications for these grants, which reward highly innovative projects in nine areas of scientific knowledge and culture.

The project by IMIM-Hospital del Mar researcher Patrick-Simon Welz, 'Losing the rhythm: host-microbiota circadian communication in Alzheimer's disease', is one of the 60 projects selected in the ninth edition of the Leonardo grants, awarded by the BBVA Foundation. These grants support highly innovative proposals in various scientific and cultural fields. This year, 884 applications were submitted and evaluated by 85 independent experts divided into nine panels.

Dr. Patrick-Simon Welz

The research led by Patrick-Simon Welz aims to identify how changes in the composition of the gut microbiome throughout the day contribute to cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. Daily rhythmic variations in the microbiota composition have a major impact on the health of the host. In patients with Alzheimer's disease, changes to specific components of the gut microbiota have been linked to the development of dementia and neurodegeneration. However, it is not known how the daily rhythms of the gut microbiota change in Alzheimer's disease, how these changes contribute to the development of brain pathology and whether therapeutic interventions targeting the circadian rhythm (circadian literally means "around the day") of the gut microbiota could be beneficial in terms of ameliorating the pathology.

The project is one of 17 selected in Catalonia. The researchers now have between 12 and 18 months to develop their proposals. This programme aims to support professionals aged between 30 and 45 who are at a turning point in their careers, an intermediate stage where many of them have not yet been able to develop and manage a personal project with ample room for flexibility. Leonardo Grants cover a wide range of areas of science and culture, including basic sciences, mathematics, biology and biomedicine, environmental and earth sciences, engineering and information technologies, economics, social and legal sciences, humanities, music and opera, and literary creation and the performing arts.

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