MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The National Institutes of Health awarded University of South Alabama scientists with a two-year, $423,500 grant to conduct research on the amyloid precursor protein (APP).

APP is known for producing amyloid-beta, which is a key pathogenic molecule in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The research will be headed by Jonathon P. Audia, Ph.D., a microbiology and immunology professor; and Robert A. Barrington, Ph.D., who also teaches microbiology and immunology.

Recent evidence shows APP functions as part of the innate immune response to infection.

“This new line of work for the group was developed in large part due to the Whiddon COM’s Intramural Grants Program and will further our understanding of how we defend ourselves against infections,” Audia said.

Audia and Barrington said they discovered APP plays an important role in directing the neutrophils during bacterial pneumonia using their established model of Pseudomonas aeruginosa-induced lung injury.