Friday, October 14, 2011

KDA Awards $65,000 in Research Grants

 KDA Logo
Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the Board of Directors of the Kennedy’s Disease Association announced today that they awarded three research grants.  The three recipients and a brief explanation of their research are shown below.

1.  Masahisa Katsuno, M.D. – Ph.D.,  Department of Neurology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine

Amount Awarded:  $25,000

Proposal:  Elucidation of neuronal death signaling pathways and development of disease-modifying therapies for Kennedy’s disease
Brief Explanation: Their lab has evidence that the synthesis of two proteins are affected by the defective androgen receptor in KD. They wish to determine if neuronal cell death is caused by the alteration in the levels of these proteins and if cell death can be prevented by the addition of drugs that target the activity of these proteins.

2.  Elise Kikis, Ph. D., Northwestern University

Amount Awarded:  $20,000 

Proposal:  Modeling SBMA: from understanding proteotoxicity to identifying therapeutics

Brief Explanation: They believe that the specific cell death is due to the
researcher 6 accumulation of misfolded proteins (the androgen receptor) and the inability of cells to handle this accumulation. They propose to use a new model organism (a little worm called C. elegans – a very common and important model system in biology) to examine how different cell types handle the misfolded proteins and genetically look for other proteins that may help the cell get rid of the messed up proteins.

3.  Sara Parodi, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, Genoa, Italy

Amount Awarded:  $20,000 

Proposal:  Identification of PKA signaling as a new therapeutic approach for SBMA

Brief Explanation:  There is evidence that the cell death may involve changes to the androgen receptor (specifically changes in which phosphate is added to the protein, a process called phosphorylation). They hope to determine whether this cell death can be stopped due to the activation of another protein, known as PKA.

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