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To date, most genetic research in Alzheimer disease has looked for DNA changes that increase risk. The strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease among non-Hispanic Whites (Europeans) and Japanese is the ApoE gene, specifically the ApoE4 form of the gene.

However, it has been known for some time that ApoE4 does not cause the same strong risk for Alzheimer disease in African carriers of ApoE4, even though the protein is the same. Recently, the UM Alzheimer group (Rajabli et al 2018) has identified that the genetic region that causes this difference is lies in the DNA region that surrounds the APOE gene. This area of local ancestry has many differences between African and European ancestries. The goal of Dr. Vance’s research is to identify the actual DNA change that causes this protection, which could eventually lead to a therapy for ApoE4 carriers.

University of Miami Principal Investigator

  • Jeffery M. Vance, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Miami Significant Collaborators

  • Derek Dykxhoorn, Ph.D.
  • Juan Young, Ph.D.