What is SynAD?
Neurodegeneration leading to cognitive impairment and dementia has a staggering and accelerating global impact. Worldwide estimates (2015) cite 10 million new annual cases and a prevalence of 47 million. Despite steady effort in research and clinical trials, no disease-altering interventions are available. For Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the dominant form of dementia, slow progress is attributed to its multi-factorial and gradually unfolding nature. Other neurodegenerative diseases have notable prevalence and contribute to co-morbidity. The complexities of AD and Related Dementias (ADRD) call for interdisciplinary research and precision solutions. To build capacity at the University of Alberta we aim to: (1) advance ADRD screening, detection, treatment, and prevention, (2) integrate new disciplines, approaches and technologies, and (3) train and collaborate across often isolated disciplines or “pillars”.
SynAD is a “Hope for Tomorrow” Program: SynAD is funded through the Hope for Tomorrow Dementia Research Catalyst Grant Program. Seed money for the grant was from the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories to advance dementia research in Alberta. The award was matched by the University Hospital Foundation. The SynAD program is formally known as: Hope for Tomorrow, New Synergies Today: Enhancing Research and Translation in Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias at the University of Alberta.
SynAD Partners: In partnership with the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute, SynAD is eminently prepared to envision, formulate, and conduct the collaborative and complementary research required to make game-changing advances in ADRD. We aspire to achieve a new level of scientific excellence and translational applicability. Our current aims are to enhance our research capacity, training capacity and incubation capacity. SynAD also benefits from partnerships with Campus Alberta Neuroscience (CAN) and Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging (CCNA).
Vision: The SynAD vision is threefold:
(1) To bring together an exceptional cadre of dedicated and highly achieving researchers and clinicians who recognize that ADRD advances require integration across standard boundaries and pillars.
(2) To identify specific areas of expertise and corresponding capacity gaps that, when closed, will create new synergies and precision advances.
(3) To implement general goals and specific plans that will lead to significant and novel contributions to this public health challenge.
Initiatives: The SynAD program has three initiatives for expanding ADRD capacity at the University of Alberta. Additional information and forms on these programs are available elsewhere in this website.
(1) Increase Research Capacity (Equipment): The goal of this initiative is to provide funding for small equipment grants to fulfill moderate and urgent instrumentation needs or upgrades.
(2) Enhance Training Capacity: This initiative places priority on selective support for promising graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are pursuing careers in ADRD.
(3) Strengthen Incubation Capacity: This initiative provides competitive funding for small and focused grants for promising new ideas in ADRD research.