HD Human Biology Project Overview

Despite the identification of the gene responsible for Huntington’s disease (HD) over 25 years ago, to date there are no effective treatments available to patients to modify disease progression. Although animal models have been instrumental to our understanding of HD biology, the most physiologically relevant scientific observations are those that are recorded in HD patients. As a result, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America has adopted a patient-centric research strategy to push the field closer to meeting our goal of identifying effective therapies. The HD Human Biology Project is the cornerstone of this strategy. To date, HDSA has committed over $4 million dollars to support this program.

The Human Biology Project was launched in 2013 with the goal of fostering innovative research in collaboration with HD clinics to better understand the biology of Huntington’s disease as it occurs in humans. HDSA encourages researchers to consider one of HDSA’s 43 Centers of Excellence as a potential collaborator, but applicants may propose to work with any HD clinic around the world.

Project Details

  • 1-2 years of funding to support a scientist working collaboratively with an HD clinic anywhere in the world
  • Awards up to $75,000/year ($50,000 salary support and $25,000 research budget)
  • Recipient must commit at least 50% effort to the project
  • Open to researchers from around the world regardless of position/title
  • Preference given to young postdoctoral and clinical 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

Marina Papoutsi

Postdoctoral research associate, University College London
Mentor:
Project Title: Variability in cognitive impairment in Huntington’s disease: the effect of environment on cognitive reserve Learn More

Michael Placzek, PhD

Instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital
Mentor: Jacob Hooker, PhD
Project Title: COX-2 PET radiotracers for imaging early HD pathology in the living brain Learn More