HD Human Biology Project


Despite the identification of the gene responsible for Huntington’s disease (HD) over 25 years ago, there are no effective treatments available to patients to modify disease progression. While the identification of the huntingtin gene led to an incredible number of useful animal models to help us better understand HD biology, the most physiologically relevant scientific observations that will guide the research community in the hunt for effective therapies for HD will be those that are recorded in HD patients. 

As a result, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) has adopted a patient-centric research strategy to help meet our goal of identifying effective therapies to slow the progression or onset of HD. The HD Human Biology Project is the cornerstone of this strategy. The Human Biology Project was launched in 2013 with the goal of fostering innovative research at the HDSA Centers of Excellence to better understanding the biology of Huntington’s disease as it occurs in humans. To date, HDSA has committed over $4.3 million dollars to support this program. 

Applicants may propose to work with any HD clinic around the world. However, if possible, HDSA encourages applicants to consider the HDSA Centers of Excellence as a potential collaborator for their research.

The 2019 request for new proposals for the Human Biology Project is now open. Please see below for information on submitting a Letter of Intent.

What is This Project?

  • A one or two year grant mechanism to provide support for young scientists to work collaboratively with HD Clinics from around the world.
  • Awards up to $75,000/year ($50,000 salary support and $25,000 research budget)

Who Can Apply?

  • Open to researchers from around the world regardless of position/title
  • Preference given to young investigators (PhD and/or MDs) who are not yet independent
  • Innovative ideas from non-scientists will also be accepted and encouraged
  • Applications from for-profit institutions are welcome

2019 HD Human Biology Project Letter of Intent

All interested applicants must complete the required administrative information form below and upload a completed Letter of Intent (LOI) no later than Friday, May 24th, 2019 at 5:00 (EDT).  The LOI is intended to be a short Microsoft Word document of 1000 words or less.  In the LOI, you must include the following information:

  1. A short summary that outlines the intended research and specifically states how the results will help us better understand the biology of HD as it occurs in humans.
  2. Any background and/or preliminary data
  3. Specific Aims
  4. Brief experimental plan, including time required to complete studies
  5. Qualifications of the researcher/applicant

2019 Human Biology Project Request For Proposal
2019 LOI Form

Questions? Contact George Yohrling, PhD, Senior Director, Mission and Scientific Affairs or Leora Fox, PhD, Manager of Research and Mission Programs at grants@hdsa.org.



Daniel Wilton (2)-1Making a Difference:
Funding Through HDSA’s HD Human Biology Project Provides Invaluable Assistance and Key Collaborations

” In addition to Supporting a high risk project to see whether our basic research on mouse models can be translated into a clinical context, funding through HDSA’s HD human biology project has helped me to form important collaborations with experts in the Huntington’s disease field. This is expanding my knowledge and expertise in an important area of research I intend to pursue as an independent investigator.”

“Our work in mouse models of Huntington’s disease has shown dysregulation of the immune system to be one of the earliest events in Huntington’s disease. With the help of the HDSA, we are now trying to determine if this occurs in human patients and, if so, whether it can be used to develop powerful biomarker tools and even potential therapies.”

– Daniel Wilton, Ph.D./Children’s Hospital of Boston
2014 HD Human Biology Project Recipient/ Mentor: Beth Stevens, Ph.D.


HDSA-funded HD Human Biology Projects



HDSA-funded HD Human Biology Projects


HDSA-funded HD Human Biology Projects

 img_researchHD_humanbiology2CLICK HERE TO VIEW SUMMARIES OF 2015
HDSA-funded HD Human Biology Projects

CLICK HERE TO VIEW SUMMARIES OF 2014 HDSA-funded HD Human Biology Projects
Share Tweet

Share a link