Varghese John, a professor of neurology and director of the Drug Discovery Lab at UCLA, received a bronze prize from the Oskar Fischer Prize for his lab’s research on potential therapeutics to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and its progression.  

The Oskar Fischer Prize, funded through a philanthropic gift from businessman James Truchard and awarded by the University of Texas at San Antonio, is an international competition aimed at expanding the world’s understanding of Alzheimer’s. It is the largest prize of its kind, with a combined $4 million awarded to 10 researchers.

John was recognized for his research on the gene epsilon 4 allele of apolipoprotein, the greatest genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s — the most common form of the disease. In addition to identifying several novel compound series targeting the effects of the gene that could be promising candidates for drug development, his lab has also uncovered ways in which it confers risk for onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

John established the Drug Discovery Lab in 2014 to develop therapeutics to treat neurodegenerative disease, with a focus on Alzheimer’s. He is also a member of the Alzheimer’s disease program in the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at UCLA.