COVID-19: Keeping Campus Safe.

Marshall University researchers awarded DOD grant to study Alzheimer’s disease

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Researchers at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, Department of Defense (DOD), to study the role of obesity and oxidative stress in Alzheimer’s disease.

Led by Co-Principal Investigators Thomas Nelson, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience; Komal Sodhi, M.D., associate professor of surgery; and Joseph Shapiro, M.D., vice president and dean of the School of Medicine and professor of medicine, the study represents a multi-disciplinary approach to the research. It will build on Nelson’s previous research on inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and Sodhi and Shapiro’s previous research on oxidative stress in obesity.

Obesity is one of the four most important predictive factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is projected that 14 million Americans will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease by 2060. Obesity among active duty service members increased 73% between 2011 and 2015. Veterans also have disproportionately higher risk due to factors such as traumatic brain injury and PTSD, a key predictor of obesity.

This three-year grant was the only Research Partnership Award in the DOD’s Peer-Reviewed Alzheimer’s Research Program for fiscal year 2021 and is the first DOD grant awarded to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine since 2010.

In addition to the DOD award, Nelson previously received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant to study apolipoproteins in Alzheimer’s disease. Sodhi received a NIH R15 grant to study the role of adipocyte on uremic cardiomyopathy and also received a Bench-to-Bedside and Back award from the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health to study kidney disease associated with dementia in women. Additional funding from the Maier Foundation, BrickStreet Foundation and Huntington Foundation has also contributed to the development of this valuable project.

To learn more about research at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, visit For news and information about the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, follow us on Twitter @MUSOMWV, like us on Facebook or visit


Media Contact: Sheanna Spence, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Date Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2022