Huntington’s disease research plays a big role at our annual Convention, which is taking place this year on June 7th-9th in Los Angeles, California. We’ll have talks and poster sessions presented by HDSA-funded scientists including our Donald King Summer Research Fellows, Human Biology Project Fellows, and recipients of the Berman-Topper Career Development Fellowship. Other research sessions will involve presentations and Q & As with academic and industry researchers working on cutting-edge techniques and developing HD therapies. Our annual research forum on Saturday, June 9th will feature a collaborative TED-style talk telling the story of huntingtin-lowering therapy, from discovery of the HD gene through drug development, and highlighting the role of the community in research moving forward. Video of Saturday’s research forum will be available to watch as a live stream and will also be recorded and available on our YouTube channel after the event. Register for convention today!

Seeing inside the brain

Our brains contain not only nerve cells that send messages back and forth, but a vast number of supporting cells called astrocytes. These cells have a round central body and lots of tentacle-like protrusions that they can wrap around neurons like vines around tree branches. This week, scientists at the University of California Los Angeles reported on the development of a method to watch how astrocytes and neurons interact in the brains of living mice. They used powerful lenses and light techniques to zoom in 100 times closer than before, focusing in on a mouse model of Huntington’s disease. This technique will allow scientists to better understand how the touches and gaps between astrocytes and neurons might change during HD, opening the door for the study of corrective therapies.

Interview with an HDSA-supported researcher

This week, meet Dr. Natalia Pessoa Rocha, who is supported by HDSA’s Human Biology Project. Dr. Rocha is using brain imaging techniques to study inflammatory cells in a clinical study at the University of Texas, Houston, in collaboration with an HDSA Center of Excellence. Learn why she loves her work and what she’s finding out through support from the Human Biology Project.