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Assistant Prof To Discuss Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Published: November 15, 2010

The degenerative brain condition of Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 5.3 million Americans and could occur in more than 25 million people worldwide by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s researcher Vasanthy Narayanaswami, an assistant professor in CSULB’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is among scientists who are examining a promising correlation between lifetime consumption of curcumin, a bioflavonoid found in the curry spice turmeric, and a significantly lower incidence of AD in Southeast Asian populations. But the brain has defense mechanisms, referred to as the blood-brain barrier, that prevent many medications from effectively reaching it.

Narayanaswami is working on developing a nanovehicle disguised as high density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol” that has the potential to carry therapeutic concentrations of curcumin across the blood-brain barrier to treat Alzheimer’s and will discuss her research regarding the development of the nanovehicle during the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM) Fellows Colloquium at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, in CSULB’s Pyramid Annex conference room.

Narayanaswami studies the role of a protein called apolipoprotein E in relation to cholesterol transport in the vascular and the central nervous system, particularly in cardiovascular and age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. She received her doctorate from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and was a research scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute prior to joining CSULB. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association Scientific Review Committee and was a recipient of the Alzheimer’s Association’s T.L.L. Temple Discovery Award as well as the Pfizer International HDL Research Award.

The program is free to members of the CNSM Fellows—the college’s premier support group—as well as CNSM students, and $10 for non-members. For reservations and to learn more about this and upcoming colloquia, visit www.beach-chemistry.com or contact Nicole Algarin-Chavarria at 562/985-7446.

–Anne Ambrose