Huntington’s Disease Society of America Announces Winners of 2019 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowship

 Scientists working at Brown University, Duke University, University of Central Florida and the University of Pittsburgh awarded fellowships to work on Huntington’s disease.

New York, NY (April 16, 2019) — The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowships, a vital program to train the next-generation of scientists with research expertise in Huntington’s disease (HD). HD is a rare, neurodegenerative disorder currently affecting approximately 30,000 Americans symptomatically. Because of the hereditary nature of the disease, another 200,000 Americans are at-risk of having inherited the disease from one of their parents.

After rigorous review by the HDSA’s Scientific Advisory Board, four young scientists were awarded 2019 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowships.

Mr. Zach Cook (Brown University) will spend the summer working with Marc Tatar, PhD testing effectiveness of drugs in a fruit fly (Drosophila) model of Huntington’s disease.
Ms. Chloe LaRochelle (University of Central Florida) will be working under the guidance of Amber Southwell, PhD on a project that aims to investigate aggression in HD mice.
Ms. Alexandra Putka (Duke University) will be working in the laboratory of Dr. Audrey Dickey to elucidate how altered function of a protein called PPARδ contributes to HD pathology.
Ms. Colleen Strohlein (University of Pittsburgh) will spend the summer working in the laboratory of Robert Friedlander, MD to investigate huntingtin protein phosphorylation status on the localization of mitochondria in HD.

HDSA established the Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowship program in 2005 in honor of Donald King who passed away in 2004. Don was a tireless advocate for HD families and served as HDSA’s Chairman of the Board from 1999 to 2003.

The purpose of this fellowship program is two-fold: first, to attract the brightest young scientists into the field of Huntington’s disease research and second, to facilitate meaningful HD research to clarify the biological mechanisms underlying HD pathology. Applicants are evaluated by the quality of their personal academic achievements, mentoring plan, experimental design, and the feasibility of achieving their scientific goals in a short summer time frame.

Fellows present the outcomes of their projects to the HD community the summer following their award at the HDSA Annual Convention. The 34th Annual HDSA Convention, featuring the 2018 Donald King Fellows, takes place June 27-29, 2019 in Boston, MA. Visit for more details and to register.


Huntington’s disease is a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It deteriorates a person’s physical and mental abilities during their prime working years and has no cure. Every child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of carrying the faulty gene. Today, there are approximately 30,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease.

The symptoms of HD are described as having ALS, Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s – simultaneously.

The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is the premier nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by HD. From community services and education to advocacy and research, HDSA is the world’s leader in providing help for today and hope for tomorrow for people with HD and their families.

To learn more about Huntington’s disease and the work of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America, visit or call (800)345-HDSA.


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