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Investigating Dietary Effects on the Brain

Dr. Ken Witt, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and his team of researchers have been awarded a $398,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to assess the effects of various dietary fats on the brain vasculature in association with inflammation.

The receipt of this R21 grant marks the second concurrent grant presented to Witt by the NIH. He is also currently working with a $2.65 million RO1 grant for Alzheimer’s research.

According to Witt, the primary goal of this particular research program is to define key dietary factors that may make the brain more susceptible to disease and/or cognitive decline.

“Obesity has become an epidemic in Western society, with the U.S. adult obesity rate of 30 percent,” explained Witt. “The contributions of obesity to brain-related illnesses such as stroke and neurodegenerative disease have been documented.”

Witt says what makes this research particularly unique is its focus on the brain microvasculature, the finer vessels such as arterioles and capillaries, as a target of dietary effects. This research examines not merely in the context of disease and health outcomes, but also the identification of key proteins that may serve as targets for drug treatment.

Research Feature

Investigating Dietary Effects on the Brain

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