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New Orleans, LA – David Stark, an MD/PhD student at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has been awarded a grant by the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $28,594. A training grant for individual predoctoral students, the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award is an individual fellowship (F30) given to "promising applicants with the potential to become productive, independent, highly trained physician-scientists." Stark is the only new recipient of the F30 award in Louisiana so far this year.

Stark is conducting research at the LSUHSC Neuroscience Center of Excellence in the laboratories of Dr. Nicolas Bazan. The goal of his project is to determine how specific molecules derived from the omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can protect the brain under conditions of stress associated with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Neurodegenerative diseases are conditions marked by loss of function or death of neurons, a certain type of cell in the central nervous system. Understanding the balance of molecular level processes leading to cell death or survival is critical to improving patient outcomes in these diseases, and neuroprotective signaling of DHA-derived messengers is a new and important horizon on the biomedical research landscape.


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