Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation Announces Two $100,000 Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards
The MDF postdoctoral fellowship grants were awarded to Auinash Kalsotra, PhD, working with Dr. Thomas Cooper at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and John Lueck, PhD, working with Dr. Kevin Campbell at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine. Each recipient received a grant of $100,000 to be split over two years. Applications were reviewed by a panel of distinguished researchers and professionals in the field of myotonic dystrophy. Final selections were determined by the MDF Board of Directors.
Dr. Kalsotra's research, "Regulatory Mechanisms of CELF Protein in Cardiac Development and Myotonic Dystrophy" aims to identify cellular pathways that are disrupted in myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). In the long term, such an understanding might allow manipulations to correct or circumvent the disease process at the molecular level.
Dr. Lueck's research, "Understanding Muscle Weakness and Wasting in Myotonic Dystrophy", will investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying muscle weakness and wasting in myotonic dystrophy. The results of this study will not only shed light on the mechanism of muscle disease in myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), but will also help unravel the mysteries of other muscular dystrophies. Ultimately, the goal of this research is to discover new avenues of therapy for myotonic dystrophy.
Described as "the most variable of all diseases found in medicine", myotonic dystrophy can appear at any time from birth to old age. It affects approximately 1:8000 people worldwide and can cause not only muscle weakness, atrophy and myotonia, but also problems in the heart, brain, GI tract as well as endocrine, skeletal and respiratory systems. Doctors often have difficulty diagnosing the disorder. Since the gene was identified in the early 1990s, researchers have discovered that the genetic flaw generally enlarges and causes more severe symptoms in subsequent generations. This phenomenon renders it a genetic time bomb.
The MDF expects the funded research to complement the existing efforts of the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and other governmental and philanthropic agencies.
Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation
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