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Cracking Alzheimer's with Fruit Flies

July 25, 2013 —  

Aleister J. Saunders, Ph.D.

Dr. Aleister Saunders

With the help of the tiny, remarkable fruit fly, two Drexel researchers aim to speed up science’s understanding of a disease that affects more than 5 million Americans.

Two Drexel University scientists have developed a powerful Drosophila model to study better the progression of Alzheimer’s disease as well as to screen in a quicker and cheaper fashion potential drugs.

Daniel Marenda, Ph.D.

Dr. Daniel Marenda

“We set out to create a new model,” says Aleister J. Saunders, an associate professor of biology and associate dean for research who has long studied the neurodegenerative condition on the human cellular level. In recent years, he has collaborated with Daniel R. Marenda. The assistant professor of biology and co-director of the Cell Imaging Center is known around campus as the “Pied Piper of Fruit Flies” because of his enthusiasm for the Drosophila disease model.

Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia in the developed world, afflicts 5.4 million Americans. In the next 50 years, that number is expected to skyrocket to 16 million.

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