By Wendy Sarubbi | October 13, 2014 12:01 pm

College of Medicine faculty member and geriatrics specialist Dr. Mariana Dangiolo has been appointed to the state’s new Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board, created to help fund research into the prevention and cure of the neurodegenerative disease.

Florida has an estimated 500,000 residents with Alzheimer’s disease of America’s 5.2 million sufferers. During the 2014 legislative session, Florida lawmakers approved $3 million in funding to improve the health and well-being of Floridians living with Alzheimer’s and to fund research for prevention and a cure.

The 11-member Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board will advise the State Surgeon General on the scope and direction of the new Alzheimer’s disease research. Dr. Dangiolo is one of two geriatricians in the state appointed to the advisory group. “This board brings together expertise that will advance Alzheimer’s research in Florida,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “This program demonstrates Florida’s dedication to finding a cure for this disease that affects too many of our loved ones and their families.”

Dr. Dangiolo is an assistant professor of geriatrics and family medicine at the UCF College of Medicine and serves as director of geriatrics and palliative medicine. She is also a board-certified family and geriatric physician who cares for patients at UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. She received her M.D. degree at Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Medicina. She completed her family practice residency at the Mayo Clinic and her fellowship in geriatrics at Stanford. She is the two-time recipient of the UCF Richard Tucker Competitive Gerontology Research Award. She is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian.

“Whether it’s in her research or patient care, Dr. Dangiolo’s focus is on healthy aging for seniors,” said Dr. Ralph Caruana, the medical school’s associate dean for clinical affairs. “She is passionate about helping seniors stay vital and active in their twilight years. Her expertise and her compassion will be a tremendous asset as Florida battles Alzheimer’s disease.”

The board’s first face-to-face meeting is in November in Orlando and Dr. Dangiolo is eager to hear from members of the scientific research community who have ideas on possible research projects. “I am honored by this appointment,” she said, “and this new opportunity to serve my beloved seniors.”


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