New York, NY (May 11, 2022) — The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowships, a vital program to train the next-generation of scientists with research expertise in Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is a rare, hereditary neurodegenerative disorder currently affecting approximately 41,000 Americans.  

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 timeframe. 

After review by HDSA’s Scientific Advisory Board, five young scientists were awarded 2022 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowships. 

  • Manasa Chillarige (University of Pittsburgh) will, under the mentorship of Diane Carlisle, PhD, study whether activation of a specific protein pathway can protect brain cells from the negative effects of stress brought on by HD.  
  • Carly Fisher (The Ohio State University) will work in the lab of Richard Fishel, PhD, to determine the role of FAN1, a DNA mismatch repair protein, in regulating CAG repeat expansion in HD.  
  • Carolina Gomez Casas (University of Massachusetts Medical School) will study how a CRIPSPR-Cas9 system may be used to reduce CAG expansions in the mutated huntingtin gene under the mentorship of Michael Brodsky, PhD.  
  • Anthony Ventimiglia (The Ohio State University) will study the role of MLH1-PMS1, a protein complex that plays a role in DNA mistmatch repair, in regulating CAG repeat expansion in HD in the lab of Richard Fishel, PhD.  
  • Katherine Vinski (University of Pittsburgh) will work in the lab of Diane Carlisle, PhD, to study how crosstalk between two protein pathways affects stress response in HD and to determine whether the pathways can be regulated to minimize negative effects.  

“We are delighted to be able to support this year’s Donald King Fellows and foster their interest in studying HD,” said Dr. Leora Fox, Assistant Director of Research and Patient Engagement at HDSA. “They are enthusiastic about applying their considerable talents to the pursuit of HD research, and I have no doubt that each will thrive under the guidance of their mentors.”  

“Not only are the five awardees accomplished students, they all proposed well-designed projects that were scored highly by the reviewers on HSDA’s Scientific Advisory Board,“ added Dr. Arik Johnson, Chief Mission Officer at HDSA. “We look forward to seeing the outcome of their work and hope their interest in HD carries on throughout their careers!” 

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


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 41,000 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 www.hdsa.org or call (800)345-HDSA. 



Chris Cosentino

Director, Marketing & Communications

(212)242-1968 x229