UAMS Researcher Gets $1.8M to Study Treatments for Neurological Disorders

UAMS Researcher Gets $1.8M to Study Treatments for Neurological Disorders

UAMS on Thursday announced that Fang Zheng, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology, has been awarded a $1.8 million federal grant to continue research that could lead to new treatments for epilepsy and other neurological disorders.

Zheng's initial research has focused on the underlying mechanisms of neurovascular coupling dysfunction, which happens when the connection between blood flow and neurons in the brain stops working normally, UAMS said in a news release.

That process is thought to contribute to brain damage and functional impairment in people with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 

Zheng wants to test a theory that links that process to regulatory activity in blood cells.

“His research raises the possibility that treatments directed at restoring normal function to small cerebral blood vessels may reduce the number and severity of epileptic seizures," Nancy Rusch, professor and chair of the UAMS Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, said in the release.

The grant comes from the The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Collaborating with Zheng on the study are Paul Drew and Kevin Phelan, professors in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, and Fabrice Dabertrand, an associate professor of anesthesiology and pharmacology at the University of Colorado.