Barcelona, April 3rd 2020 


International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease 2020

Sonia Moreno-Grau, Fundació ACE researcher, awarded at the AAT-AD/PD 2020 international congress


•    Dr. Moreno-Grau has been recognized with one of the international awards for the best research work of young researchers in the field of Alzheimer's disease

•    The work she has been involved in focuses on the type of genetic inheritance that can lead to Alzheimer's disease and which has so far been little explored



Fundació ACE researcher Sonia Moreno-Grau has been recognised with one of the international awards for the best research work by young researchers at the prestigious AAT-AD/PD™ Congress on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases 2020, which each year presents the latest advances in treatment, translational R&D, early diagnosis, drug development and clinical trials in this field.

The prestigious international conference AAT-AD/PD™ was supposed to be held these days in Vienna, but it is finally being developed by telematic means as a consequence of the crisis by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Sonia Moreno-Grau has received this award for her contribution to the scientific work entitled Autosomal recessive Alzheimer's disease (arAD): homozygosity mapping of genomic regions containing arAD loci.

Research is key to progress in Alzheimer's disease

The research work focuses on the role of recessive inheritance (where both a person's mother and father have the same mutation in the genome), which can lead to Alzheimer's disease. This type of inheritance has so far been little explored. 

To carry out this study, the most exhaustive to date, Fundació ACE research team has analysed the genome of 22,549 people, thanks to the collaboration with Washington University in Sant Louis (USA). 

Moreno's work reveals, on the one hand, that people with Alzheimer's have a higher level of consanguinity than people without the disease. That is to say, the genetics of the people with Alzheimer's that was analysed revealed that at some point in their family history there was a relationship of consanguinity. This type of finding is normally found in populations with a remarkable degree of inbreeding. Even so, thanks to the evolution of genetic technology and the strategy used, it has been possible to carry out these innovative results in an unrelated population. 

On the other hand, and based on the study of the genetics of people with a higher level of consanguinity, the research focused on identifying those with recessive factors, which are those in which the father and mother have the same mutation of the genome. This has made it possible to locate a new gene, SPON1, associated with the disease, although specific studies will be necessary to confirm this relationship. This gene intervenes in the process of producing amyloid protein, the most studied protein until now as a possible cause of Alzheimer's. 

These findings suggest the need for new studies investigating recessive genetic factors, and open the door to the discovery of new treatments focused on the effects that these genes cause. 

Dr. Sonia Moreno-Grau thanked the AAT-AD/PD™ Congress award on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases 2020, and said that for her it has been "an honour to receive this recognition, for which I feel very fortunate". The ACE Foundation researcher added that this award "is a great motivation to continue growing and improving in the field of Alzheimer's research". 

Dr. Sonia Moreno-Grau graduated in Pharmacy from the University of Valencia in 2013 and received her PhD in 2019 from the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Programme at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Despite her youth, she has published more than 25 articles in indexed international journals. He has also collaborated in the construction of the largest genome data set on Alzheimer's disease in Spain, the so-called GR@ACE project (Genome Research at Fundació ACE). Since November last year, Sonia Moreno has been a postdoctoral researcher at Fundació ACE.

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