VCoA*The Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund (ARDRAF) was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1982 to stimulate innovative investigations into Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders along a variety of avenues, such as the causes, epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of the disorder; public policy and the financing of care, and the social and psychological impacts of the disease upon the individual, family, and community. The awards this year have been enhanced by a $25,000 donation from Mrs. Russell Sullivan of Fredericksburg, in memory of her husband who died of dementia. Sullivan awards are indicated by an asterisk (*). The ARDRAF competition is administered by the Virginia Center on Aging in the School of Allied Health Professions at Virginia Commonwealth University. Questions about the projects may be directed to the investigators or the ARDRAF administrator, Dr. Constance Coogle (ccoogle@vcu.edu).


Organization Authors Project Title
Virginia Commonwealth University Heather Lucas, PhD Developing an Expression Platform for Tetrameric Alpha-Synuclein to Advance Systemic Biochemical Studies
VA Tech Harald Sontheimer, PhD Amyloid Toxic for Glial Cells?
Virginia Commonwealth University Xuejun Wen, MD, PhD An In Vitro Model for Alzheimer’s Disease based upon 3D Self-Assembled Neurovascular Microtissues
Virginia Commonwealth University – Shenandoah Family Practice Residency Jonathan Winter, MD Changes in Physician Approaches to Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia since CMS’s National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care
VA Tech Ling Wu, MD, PhD and Bin Xu, PhD Drug Repurposing for Tau Aggregation Inhibitors as Neuroprotective Agents for Alzheimer’s Disease
Virginia Commonwealth University Shijun Zhang, PhD Development of NLRP3 Inflammation Inhibitors for AD
University of Virginia Zhiyi Zuo, MD, PhD Empathic Transfer of Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction


2017-2018 ARDRAF Awards Committee

  • Paul Aravich, PhD – Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Charlotte Arbogast, MS – VA Department of Medical Assistance Services
  • Kathleen Fuchs, PhD – University of Virginia
  • Hamid Okhravi, MD – Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • John Lukens, PhD – University of Virginia
  • Mikell Paige, PhD – George Mason University
  • Linda Phillips, PhD – Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Webster L. Santos, PhD – Virginia Tech
  • J. Tina Savla, PhD – Virginia Tech
  • Patricia A. Trimmer, PhD – Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Gregorio Valdez, PhD – Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
  • Ishan Williams, PhD – University of Virginia
  • Yan Zhang, PhD – Virginia Commonwealth University


Review additional years: