Sunday, September 27, 2009

Glimmers of Hope – Part IV

Profiles of Young Researchers

In an earlier post called, "The Nine Stages," I mentioned "Hope" was the ninth stage. I ended the post by saying, "With acceptance, and armed with the additional knowledge that researchers were working diligently towards finding a treatment and potentially a cure, I discovered something that had been missing recently in my life – Hope."

In my post, "Another Ray of Hope on the Research Front," I commented, "how fortunate we are that another generation has picked up the baton and continues to move towards the finish line (finding a treatment or cure). As long as someone is carrying the baton, we have hope."

In this post, I wish to recognize another researcher who is carrying the baton:

Tobias Jochum, Post Grad Student, is a researcher at the Institute for Synchroton Radiation, Forgschungszentrum Karlsruhe, in Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany.

Bruce: Why did you decide to focus your research on Kennedy's Disease?

Tobias: After my diploma thesis, which was more related to different biophysical techniques, I decided to move on with a more biological topic for my PhD. However, I wanted to use the knowledge that I had acquired during my studies for the prospective PhD project. Together with my diploma supervisor Dr. David Moss and Prof. Andrew C. Cato we discussed in a few meetings how research on SBMA (Kennedy's Disease) and modern biophysical methods could be combined in order to contribute to this research field. I decided then to study the current literature and found out that SBMA (Kennedy's Disease) and the related polyQ diseases are open research areas- this made me curious.

Bruce: Briefly summarize what you are currently working on and why you feel it is important in KD research.

Tobias: My research on SBMA has the objective to use recent technological advancements in biophysical methods to characterize the protein aggregation process in (Kennedy's Disease) which is caused by the polyglutamine-extended sequences in the androgen receptor. This, we believe, will provide a deeper understanding of the molecular processes associated with SBMA (Kennedy's Disease). It will also provide a robust assay that could be used to predict the efficacy of future chemical compounds for the treatment of SBMA (Kennedy's Disease).

Bruce: What are your aspirations (career goals)?

Tobias: First of all, I want to finish my PhD. Afterwards I will try to find a post-doc position that should definitely be related to neurodegeneration and studies using biophysical methods.

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