Latest News

  • Congratulations to Mary Jo LaDu, named UIC Innovator of Today award 2016! (Pictured with Dr. Leon Tai)

  • Congratulations for Robert Ng for winning the 2017 Huxley Award for undergraduate achievement in neuroscience!

  • UIC Research Forum (April 3, 2017)

    Congratulations Ryan Salzman: 1st place in the 2017 undergraduate poster competition for the Life Sciences (Pictured with Chancellor Amiridis)

  • College of Medicine Research day (November 18, 2016) Congratulations to Deebika Balu! 2nd place in Postdoctoral fellows and residents Category

  • Congratulations to Cyprianna Estrada for winning the 2016 SACNAS Student Presentation Award

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    Welcome to the LaDu Neurodegeneration Research lab

    Alzheimer disease (AD) has reached epidemic proportions, representing a serious economic and social burden worldwide.

    • Over the last decade, AD mortality has increased 66% to become the sixth leading cause of death.
    • AD occurs in 1 of 8 Americans aged 65 and 50% over age 85.
    • The current annual cost to America is ~$183 billion, increasing to 1.1 trillion by 2050.
    • Currently there is no cure and only temporary symptomatic management is available.

    Mary Jo LaDu, PhD
    Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
    University of Illinois at Chicago

    Dr LaDu's lab studies the pathology of Alzheimer disease (AD) by focusing on the structure/function interactions between the human isoforms of apolipoprotein E (apoE) and amyloid-β peptide (Aβ). A naturally occurring isoform of the APOE gene, apoE4, increases lifetime risk for AD 60-fold compared to the more common apoE3. Aβ, particularly oligomeric aggregates (oAβ), is considered a major cause of AD. Our overall hypothesis is that apoE4 and oAβ act synergistically to compromise neuronal viability. We utilize an integrated approach to address the complexity of apoE/Aβ interactions, including biochemical, molecular biology, and cell biology methods using in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models. Our goal is to develop oAβ and apoE/Aβ complex as "mechanistic biomarkers" and therapeutic targets as both are significant prior to neuronal damage.

      Current research interests include:
    • Effect of APOE genotype on Aβ accumulation and speciation
    • Role of apoE/Aβ complex in Aβ clearance with a focus on ApoE isoform, apoE levels and apoE lipidation.
    • oAβ and apoE/Aβ ELISAs as mechanistic biomarkers for AD progression.
    • Effect of apoE isoform on inflammation and synapse viability.
    • Development and testing of AD therapeutics including:
      • ApoE-dependent therapeutics targeting apoE/Aβ complex and neuroinflammation.
      • ApoE-independent therapeutics whose efficacy may be affected by apoE

    The University of Illinois has entered into an agreement with CONACYT (the National Science Foundation of Mexico) to support Mexican nationals who have been admitted into PhD programs at one of the three UI System universities.

    CONACYT has agreed to support these PhD students for the first four years of their study. This is a competitive program and the student must apply for the CONACYT award after they have been accepted into a UI System PhD program.

    The LaDu Lab is currently recruiting students for PhD programs in Neuroscience (GPN) or Graduate Education in Medical Sciences (GEMS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago via the CONACYT international scholarship program. See application details below. Please note the LaDu lab will provide tutoring for the admission process.

    CONACYT Award Instructions

    Please support our research program in Neurodegeneration by donating to the University of Illinois at Chicago. Your generous contribution will directly support our research with qualified, academic research personnel.

    To make a donation directly to the LaDu Lab, please contact:

    Lea Smucker, Director of Administrative Operations
    Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
    College of Medicine
    University of Illinois at Chicago
    Telephone: 312-996-6792
    E-mail address: