Alzheimer’s Research Grant

Alzheimer’s and Infectious Diseases Research Grants

Alzheimer’s disease is devastating for the 47 million people worldwide living with the disease, robbing them of memories and the ability to function independently. Researchers have long sought the cause and worked to develop a cure, without significant success.

Some evidence suggests that Alzheimer’s may be triggered or driven by an infectious agent or microbial mechanism. Could this be the missing link to lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease?

Determined to advance science regarding this possible connection, the IDSA Foundation is offering up to five one-time, $100,000 grants to researchers working to identify a microbial link to Alzheimer’s disease.

The IDSA Foundation research grants are designed to:

  • Obtain evidence that an infectious agent or microbial community is correlated to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Promote novel research in the field of microbial triggers for Alzheimer’s disease

To be eligible for a grant, research must be narrowly focused on identifying the possible role of an infectious agent or agents in causing Alzheimer’s disease. Awards will support innovative research, including basic, clinical and/or non-traditional approaches. The application is now closed. 

Funding for the awards is supported by grants from Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc. and The Benter Foundation.

The IDSA Foundation awarded two $50,000 grants in 2018 to two innovative researchers who will work to investigate the potential link between an infectious agent and Alzheimer’s disease.


Colette Cywes-Bentley, PhD

Institution AffiliationBrigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Project titled: The Role for Pathogen Expressed PNAG in Alzheimer’s Disease.

“The focus of this investigation is to identify a link between bacterial exposures and AD inflammation characterized by beta-amyloid plaques.  Many researchers intuit this connection, but establishing the link has thus far been elusive.  It is our hope that by using poly-N-acetyl glucosamine (PNAG) as a marker, it may be possible to identify bacterial pathogens or their fragments, as factors in Alzheimer’s pathogenesis.  It is exciting and an honor to have the financial and academic support of IDSA in this research. Colette Cywes-Bentley, Ph.D.  Feb 2019”


Allison Aiello, PhD, MS

Institution Affiliation: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Project titled: The Role of Dementia-Associated Pathogen Burden in the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Other Dementias.

“We hypothesize the burden of dementia-associated pathogens may contribute to neurodegeneration, and specifically development of dementia. Using data from multiple aging cohort studies, we aim to examine the association between dementia-associated pathogen burden and development of incident AD and other dementias. Furthermore, we will test for mediation of this pathway by inflammatory profiles, given that inflammation is a known risk factor for AD. Finally, genetic risk for AD will be explored as a moderator of this pathway, specifically we will assess interactions with ApoE and other known genetic risk factors for dementia.”

about the funders


Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc., ( is a public benefit corporation with the mission of accelerating and deepening investigations into possible microbial causes of Alzheimer’s disease. It is the sponsor of the $1 Million Challenge Award for the scientist who provides persuasive proof that a particular microbial agent causes Alzheimer’s disease. The company is self-funded, and neither seeks nor accepts outside donations or grants.




The Benter Foundation was founded in 2007 to help communities and individuals thrive. Since then, the Foundation has invested to advance a more livable Pittsburgh, emphasizing the city’s urban core. Reaching beyond Pittsburgh, the Foundation supports peace building efforts and innovators who create new knowledge to tackle large scale issues. Path breaking solutions are needed in health challenges like Alzheimer’s disease and opioid abuse. The Benter Foundation believes that the battle against Alzheimer’s will be won through innovative scientific research

Curing Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s and Infectious Diseases Research Grants Alzheimer’s disease is devastating for the 47 million people worldwide living with the disease,...

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Grants to medical students to support a longitudinal mentored clinical learning and/or research project for up to a year, on infectious diseases-related topics including HIV.