New York, NY (May 8, 2023) — The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowships, a unique grant program to train the next-generation of scientists with research expertise in Huntington’s disease (HD). The four awardees are all undergraduate students who will spend their summer working in the labs of established HD scientists.  

The 2023 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellows are: 

  • Kaden Adams (Central Michigan University) will evaluate the neuroprotective effects of metformin and its role in metabolic regulation in a mouse model of HD under the mentorship of Gary Dunbar, PhD.  
  • Sophie Laye (Washington University in St. Louis) will explore the molecular basis underlying neurodegeneration in HD in the lab of Hiroko Yano. PhD by studying protein interactions with DNMT3A, a protein that plays a key role in DNA transcription.  
  • Samuel Moldenhauer (University of Central Florida) will, under the mentorship of Amber Southwell, PhD use AI to automate tracing of brain regions and brain volume analysis, which could support faster preclinical development of novel therapies for HD.  
  • Adam Monek (University of Pittsburgh) will work in the lab of Diane Carlisle, PhD, to study whether OligoGM1, the isolated bioactive component of a known neuroprotective compound, GM1, will have positive effects like its parent molecule in a model of HD. 

“This year’s Donald King Fellows represent a diversity of subjects important to HD research, and we are thrilled to support talented students with an interest in studying HD.” said Dr. Leora Fox, Assistant Director of Research and Patient Engagement at HDSA. 

The Donald A. King Fellowships serve two important purposes. 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. Huntington’s disease (HD) is a rare, hereditary neurodegenerative disorder currently affecting approximately 41,000 Americans symptomatically, with another 200,000 estimated to be at-risk. 

Applicants are evaluated by the quality of their personal academic achievements, mentoring plan, experimental design, and the feasibility of achieving their scientific goals in the short summer timeframe. This year, applications were reviewed by a panel of past and present HDSA Berman-Topper Family HD Career Development Fellows, a distinguished cohort of up-and-coming HD scientists who have received early career support from HDSA and the Berman and Topper families.  

“Not only are the four awardees accomplished students, but they also proposed well-designed projects that were scored highly by the scientific reviewers,” 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 program. 


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.