News : 2018 : June

HIHG at R.A.I.N. Conference

Earlier this month, Dr. Katrina Celis and Vanessa Rodriguez Perez of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics traveled to New York to participate in a conference aimed at supporting seniors and their caregivers, particularly those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

Regional Aid for Interim Needs, Inc., also known as R.A.I.N., and their Alzheimer’s Caregiver Link Program held the conference entitled “The Promise Made: The Journey Continues for Caregivers, Professionals and Community,” in early June in the Bronx. The aim was to support caregivers of those living with AD through stress and coping strategies, tips on managing challenging behaviors as well as legal and financial planning workshops.

For Dr. Celis and Rodriguez Perez, the conference also presented an opportunity to share and answer questions on the findings of the HIHG’s groundbreaking research on AD, as well as to encourage families to participate in our AD studies, particularly the ongoing Puerto Rican Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative.

“There are a lot of unknown genes associated with the condition, and that’s why we try to encourage the population to participate so we can try to find those genes,” Dr. Celis shared with local television station BronxNet.

According to Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends, Bronx County, NY has the largest number of Puerto Ricans of any county in the U.S.

Rodriguez Perez, speaking to BronxNet, added “The way we usually reach out to our community is by participating in these events. We try to reach community leaders who can help us connect with the families.”

Funded by the National Institutes of Health in 2016, PRADI seeks to identify novel genetic variants in the Puerto Rican population, which has been underrepresented in genomic studies. The potential discovery of genetic contributions to AD risk and protective variants can help us grow closer to understanding AD and help bring us closer to our goal of identifying new target treatments. The PRADI study parallels the family-based efforts in the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project discovery phase and will enhance and extend current genomic efforts such as ADSP and Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium to a broader AD community.

For more information, or to participate in our Puerto Rico AD study, please contact Clinical Research Coordinator Vanessa Rodriguez Perez at (305)-243-1192 or via email at