When an 81-year-old North Las Vegas guy vanished overnight and was found dead from exposure a day later in Stone City, the neighborhood raised questions about what added to his disorientation and ultimate death.
The responses, released in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story at the time, came in part from UNLV psychology teacher Jefferson Kinney and Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Nevada. The 2 Alzheimer’s disease researchers are working to establish treatments to deal with such brain conditions.
Their work has brought millions of dollars in research study grants to Southern Nevada, consisting of a five-year, $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to form a Center of Biomedical Research Study Excellence (COBRE) in Las Vegas. And that’s broadening chances for UNLV students to work on innovative jobs while supplying Nevada patients with brain disorders increased access to care.
Kinney, who has been a driving force in UNLV’s collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, was one of three individuals to win an inaugural UNLV Top Tier award. The award recognizes work that satisfies the university’s gold standard for research study, education and neighborhood impact, and that assists the organization satisfy its objective of ranking among the top 100 American universities.
Kinney, one of 3 scientists on the COBRE award, and his team at UNLV concentrate on pre-clinical research, looking into the genes and proteins that control the immune response in the brain that adds to the core pathologies of Alzheimer’s disease. They are attempting to better understand the systems accountable for brain conditions. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease that includes checking out the plaques and tangles in the nerve cells that are common pathologies in patients.
His team collaborates with Cummings’ group at the Ruvo Center to evaluate possible treatments for the illness. Cummings’ group focuses on the scientific research, working with patients and their caregivers.
“The most exciting aspect of bringing Jeff’s work into COBRE is how we can now more exactly equate observations he and his group make in the lab to observations at the scientific level, which we make,” Cummings said. “It assists us form a more complete picture.”
And recently, that’s how most research supported by the National Institutes of Health is structured, Kinney said.
“We call it ‘translational research study,'” Kinney stated. “Basically, it’s having a continuous discussion, where people working on the pre-clinical aspects and those on the medical side are not separated anymore. It’s the very best method to make progress– with discoveries coming from both sides– and it can have the best impact on developing treatment, which is everyone’s objective here.”
Apart from being a talented researcher, however, Kinney stands out for acknowledgment since of his collaborative approach, which puts education front and center, Cummings said.
“Jeff is constantly searching for ways to help the entire program, not simply his task,” Cummings said. “In addition, so many levels of education (on both our groups) are supported in our interaction.”
Cummings said UNLV trainees participating in the research study benefit from Kinney’s knowledge and from the opportunity to work with the customized devices he’s acquired through the COBRE grant.
Christopher Kearney, a prominent professor and chair of the psychology department, stated UNLV’s neuroscience program has actually grown in big part thanks to Kinney and his research study. With Kinney chairing the neuroscience area, the department has actually been able to develop a focus in neuroscience in the graduate programs along with an undergraduate minor.
Kinney’s commitment to trainee accomplishment has actually appeared in how well his trainees carry out, Kearney noted. “Graduate students and undergraduate trainees operating in Dr. Kinney’s lab have won various awards and have been released as speakers on posters and manuscripts over the last 8 years,” Kearney said. “Dr. Kinney has actually also monitored several McNair scholars.”
Kinney, who came to UNLV about Ten Years ago, stated he was attracted by the organization’s plans to grow and become more research-focused.
“The idea of building a neuroscience program and having a role in shaping the future of this department had a great deal of attract me,” he said, adding that he has actually been working to improve research study facilities on campus. Kinney functions as associate chair of the UNLV Institutional Animal Care and Usage Committee and on UNLV’s Top Tier Academic Health Center Committee.
Kinney credits the university’s Top Tier mission– that includes supporting neighborhood collaborations and continuously establishing infrastructure and shared governance– with assisting the success and growth of the neuroscience program.
“Without a Leading Tier effort, our development and success wouldn’t have happened at the scale or speed at which we’ve had the ability to accomplish it,” he said. “Overall, it’s not almost the research, however the potential for exactly what’s still to come.”