2016 Research Fellowship Awards
LE&RN announces that it has awarded 2-year research grants ($94,536 USD) to two young researchers who are at the cutting edge of the fight against lymphatic disease and lymphedema. These awards are made possible through a generous bequest from Dorothea M. Weitzner and are called the Henry M. Weitzner, Edna K. Weitzner, Dorothea M. Weitzner and Morton L. Weitzner Research Fellowships. They are designed to expand and strengthen the pool of outstanding junior investigators in the field of lymphatic research. The awards support investigators who have recently received their doctorates, a critical point in career development when young scientists choose their lifelong research focus.
Antoine Louveau, Ph.D. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Regulation of Brain Homeostasis by the Meningeal Lymphatic Vasculature
Until recently, the central nervous system was thought to be devoid of its own lymphatic system. We challenged that dogma by demonstrating the presence of a conventional and functional lymphatic system localized within the central nervous system. This discovery changes our view of normal brain physiology, notably on how does the central nervous system clears its cellular waste. Numerous neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are characterized by the accumulation of misfolded protein inside the brain because of lack of their clearance. In the project, we propose that the meningeal lymphatic system is regulating the clearance of macromolecules from the brain and that dysfunction of the meningeal lymphatic system might drives the accumulation of amyloid beta during Alzheimer's disease. This project overall aims at understanding the biology of the meningeal lymphatic and offers potential therapeutic strategies for lymphatic related neurological disorder.
Esak Lee, Ph.D. Wyss Institute at Harvard University, Boston, MA
A Biomimetic on-Chip Model to Reconstitute Lymphedema
Lymphedema is a major lymphatic disorder characterized by swelling tissues. Although poor lymphatic function is closely linked to inflammation, relationship among the lymphatic function, inflammation, and lymphedema is not well understood. We propose to make a "lymphedema-on-chip” that we can study the disease on a nail-size device. Firstly, we will develop a "lymphatics-on-chip" to understand normal lymphatic function without disease. The model will contain a blood capillary, a lymphatic vessel, and lymph fluid to demonstrate fluid leakage from the capillary and resultant lymphatic drainage. Next, we will trigger lymphedema in the normal lymphatics-on chip using inflammatory soluble proteins and matrix proteins to promote lymphedema. Third, we will study the mechanism of lymphedema and treat the disease by prohibiting disease protein signals in the on-chip model and mouse models. This project may contribute to lymphatic community by providing a new 3D lymphedema model as a platform for drug screening and mechanism study.