Newswise — ARLINGTON, Va. (January 12, 2021) – Ten researchers who are exploring the link between an infectious agent and Alzheimer’s disease have each been awarded $100,000 research grants through the IDSA Foundation’s Microbial Pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s Disease Grant program. Since the program was established in 2018, the IDSA Foundation has provided more than $600,000 to seven researchers, making the 2020 awardees the largest recipient pool to date. The program will provide an additional pilot grant of $8,000 to begin research and initial data collection for a dementia study in Uganda.

Based on early evidence, experts believe an infectious agent or a microbial mechanism may have a connection to Alzheimer’s disease. To advance research that could shed light and provide hope to the more than 5.7 million Americans and 47 million people worldwide living with the disease, the IDSA Foundation has partnered with Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. and The Benter Foundation to provide the aforementioned grants. 

Chosen from among 58 exceptional applications, the 2020 awardees worldwide shared their innovative projects with a panel of 17 expert reviewers.

“This grant provides investigators a unique opportunity to test novel hypotheses about how microbes contribute to Alzheimer’s disease with the goal of impacting the care of those suffering from this terrible disease,” said Dr. Cynthia Sears, Grant Review Committee Co-Chair. “As a member of the Infectious Diseases community and a grant reviewer, I am thrilled to see the interest and innovation that investigators are proposing to tackle this complex problem.”

The research projects developed by these grant recipients will launch promising new directions in Alzheimer’s-related research that will likely lead to new developments in testing, early detection and/or treatment for this disease.

“The quantity and quality of applications this year exceeded our expectations; the review panel had robust review discussions and had a difficult time choosing from such an exceptional pool of proposals,” said Dr. Thomas Fekete, Chair of the IDSA Foundation Board. “We look forward to seeing what advancements are made in Alzheimer’s disease research through the important work these grant awardees will do.”

The 2020 Grant Awardees – $100,000 Each:

Laura Cox, Ph.D., instructor in Neurology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston

Daniel Czyz, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville

Gautam Dantas, Ph.D., professor at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

Eran Elinav, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Bert Jacobs, Ph.D., professor at Arizona State University, Tempe

Abhay Moghekar, M.B.B.S., associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

Ashley Moseman, Ph.D., assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham

Nancy Sawtell, Ph.D., principal investigator and professor at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati

Christoph Thaiss, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Kyle Walsh, Ph.D., associate professor at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham

Pilot Grant Awardee – $8,000:

Mujeeb Salaam, Ph.Dc., MPH, MSc, researcher at the Islamic University in Uganda

Learn more about the Microbial Pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s Disease Grant and this year’s awardees by visiting


About the IDSA Foundation: Since its inception, the IDSA Foundation has taken major steps to reduce the devastating impact infectious diseases have had on humanity by empowering the next generation of ID leaders, investing in research, and advocating for patient care. We believe ID specialists are the catalyst for reducing the burdens of infectious diseases. We know by increasing the number of well-trained ID professionals for tomorrow, we are ensuring there will be enough ID specialists equipped to take on the next infectious disease threat.

About Alzheimer's Germ Quest, Inc.: Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. is a public benefit corporation with the mission of accelerating and deepening investigations into possible microbial causes of Alzheimer's disease. It is the sponsor of the $1 Million Challenge Award for the scientist who provides persuasive proof that a particular microbial agent causes Alzheimer’s disease. The company is self-funded and neither seeks nor accepts outside donations or grants.

About The Benter Foundation: The Benter Foundation was founded in 2007 to help communities and individuals thrive. Since then, the Foundation has invested to advance a more livable Pittsburgh, emphasizing the city’s urban core. Reaching beyond Pittsburgh, the Foundation supports peacebuilding efforts and innovators who create new knowledge to tackle large scale issues. Pathbreaking solutions are needed in health challenges like Alzheimer's disease and opioid abuse. The Benter Foundation believes that the battle against Alzheimer's will be won through innovative scientific research.