Browse by Medical Category
Research Investigator Profile
Dora M. Kovacs, PhD
My research focuses on the molecular events underlying neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Among other neuropathological features, cortical deposition of an insoluble material, called amyloid, occurs in both the aging and the AD-afflicted brain. I am interested in identifying the cellular pathways regulating the generation of the toxic beta-amyloid protein (Abeta), and the factors involved in the subsequent neurodegenerative process associated with this peptide.
Therapies already developed for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease are currently being considered for AD. Acyl-coenzyme A: cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) inhibitors, drugs specifically targeting one step of the cholesterol pathway, are being actively developed for treatment of cardiovascular disease. We have shown that ACAT inhibitors have reduced generation of Abeta in cell-based models of AD and dramatically improved brain pathology in a transgenic mouse model of AD. We are currently synthesizing and testing novel ACAT inhibitors. Our overarching goal is to provide evidence that would strongly encourage clinical trial of ACAT inhibitors for AD.
Our second major project concerns the physiological functions of presenilin/gamma-secretase and BACE1, the two enzymes that play a pivotal role in the generation of Abeta. Most recently, we established a signaling pathway involving both of these enzymes and regulating the activity of voltage-gated sodium channels in the brain. We are now examining how sodium channel dysfunction may contribute to AD pathology.
Back to Top