The 2020 HDSA Berman-Topper fellowship has been awarded to Dr. Yasaman Gholamalipour for her proposal entitled “Development and delivery of CRISPR-Cas9 nickases to correct the mutant huntingtin gene.” Check out HDSA’s press release here.  

Dr. Gholamalipour will conduct the research at the University of Massachusetts under the guidance of Dr. Neil Aronin and with additional mentorship from Dr. Michal Brodsky. Her project will attempt to reverse the CAG repeat expansion sequence in the mutant Huntingtin gene back to the normal range, using a genome-editing tool known as a CRISPR-Cas9 nickase. She will also develop a new method for delivering gene editing tools to improve their distribution and activity in the brain. 

HDSA’s scientific advisory board (SAB) was impressed with Dr. Gholamalipour’s thoughtful proposal and its potential to have high impact towards the development of new therapies for HD. With her expertise in chemistry and an opportunity to train further in a stellar HD research environment, she will be sure to bring new insights to a growing group of young leaders selected to receive the HDSA Berman-Topper HD Career Development Fellowship.  

Compensated Phone Interview Study 

Make your HD experiences heard! Our partners at Sage Therapeutics are launching a compensated phone interview study to better understand the impact of early #HuntingtonsDisease symptoms on your life. Sage is in the early stages of developing HD therapeutics aimed specifically at the changes in thinking caused by HD. For details of the study and how to get involved, click here.  

HD Buzz on HD Young Adult Study 

A group of scientists based in England recently released the results of a study of youth in HD families called the Huntington’s Disease Young Adult Study (HD-YAS). They found that young HD+ adults who are many years from symptom onset had no measurable changes to their brains or behavior. However, a protein called NfL was elevated in their spinal fluid. The researchers and HD Buzz writers suggest that NfL levels could be a good future metric for deciding when to begin treating a person who has tested positive for the HD gene. Read the full story here.   

It’s Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month 

May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month, so #LetsTalkAboutHD! You can still post stories, videos, and photos to social media using #LetsTalkAboutHD. All stories are welcome – research included! Together we can spread awareness about Huntington’s disease. Learn more here

HDSA’s 2020 Virtual Convention begins next Thursday, June 4th  

Our Virtual Convention is FREE to all and begins next Thursday, June 4th. Sessions require preregistration due to limited space. Check out last week’s post for specifics of our research forum on Saturday, June 6th. For the full schedule, we highly recommend checking out the convention page on the HDSA website, and downloading the Convention app