Children continue mother’s legacy with Alzheimer’s research gift

July 20, 2015

Sid-Obryant-Sheryl-Sewell--Leigh-Johnson--WEB

Sid O’Bryant, Sheryl Sewell and Leigh Johnson

More than 40 years ago, Jareen Schmidt founded the J.E.S. Edwards Foundation to support issues dear to her heart, such as health and wellness in Fort Worth.

So when Alzheimer’s disease required her to transfer Foundation leadership duties to her children, they knew how to continue her legacy. The foundation made a gift to advance potentially ground-breaking research at UNT Health Science Center that could unlock the secrets of Alzheimer’s.

“Alzheimer’s disease runs in our family because my mother has it and my grandmother had it before her,” said Sheryl Sewell, Schmidt’s daughter. “It’s a really personal issue for us, and I’m really excited about the innovative approaches taken by UNT Health Science Center scientists to study this disease.”

A portion of the foundation’s donation will support research headed by Leigh Johnson, PhD, into the relationship between depression and Alzheimer’s. Depression is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s, and research studies have suggested that a subset of people who suffer depression and memory loss show improvement while undergoing antidepressant therapy.

Dr. Johnson and other UNTHSC researchers are conducting an innovative clinical trial that seeks to treat targeted patients at risk for Alzheimer’s disease specifically due to depression-related issues. This personalized approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease may be one key to unlocking this devastating disease. It also is one of the first times research developed at UNTHSC has reached the clinical trial phase, where it could directly benefit Fort Worth residents.

“Unraveling the pathways that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease remains the best hope to fight this disease,” Dr. Johnson said.

The gift will also fund seed grants to support young researchers’ most innovative ideas for solving Alzheimer’s. Seed grants allow researchers to build data and pursue even greater funding through federal or private sources, said Sid O’Bryant, PhD, a nationally recognized Alzheimer’s researcher.

“The funds to support seed grant research from the J.E.S. Edwards Foundation are of tremendous importance,” said Dr. O’Bryant, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine. “These funds will help push forward these new approaches that incorporate many different research disciplines to tackle brain disease in new ways.”

Rita Fc
Women’s networking group started by TCOM leader earns national award

By Steven Bartolotta In 2007, TCOM’s Dr. Rita Patterson and Dr. Jennifer Wayne, a professor at Virginia Tech, recognized the need for women in the field of bioengineering to meet together, network, mentor and increase the representation of women in the field. Thus the ASME Bioengineering...Read more

Jun 23, 2021

Dr. Sid O'Bryant
Early findings of innovative study of Alzheimer’s among diverse populations available to dementia researchers

  A growing trove of data to help scientists understand the biology of Alzheimer’s disease among diverse populations within the context of sociocultural, behavioral and environmental factors is now available through the Institute for Translational Research at The University of North Te...Read more

Jun 22, 2021

Vic Holmes, Mpas, Edd, Pa C Assistant Professor
HSC Pride: Increased pronoun use is an emerging trend among health professionals

By Diane Smith-Pinckney The embroidery on Vic Holmes’ black scrubs identify him as a physician assistant and an ally to LGBTQ+ patients. The words, stitched under a rainbow-colored Caduceus pin and near his heart, read: “Vic Holmes, PA-C, He/Him/His, Family Medicine.” Pronouns are...Read more

Jun 21, 2021

Hsc Katie Pelch
Public health scientist lends expertise to national database addressing safer use of chemicals in our environment

By Sally Crocker Katie Pelch, PhD, wants you to know what’s in our environment and how the chemicals we’re exposed to every day may affect our health. Dr. Pelch is a part-time Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, in the HSC School of Public Health (SPH), where...Read more

Jun 21, 2021