New York, NY, May 27, 2020 — The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) is pleased to announce that Dr. Yasaman Gholamalipour (University of Massachusetts Medical School) has been awarded the HDSA Berman-Topper Family HD Career Development Fellowship for 2020.
This prestigious fellowship, made possible due to the generosity of the Berman and Topper families, provides up to $80,000 of funding per year for three years to young scientists and clinicians who desire to make Huntington’s disease (HD) part of their long-term career plan.
“On behalf of the Topper and Berman families, I would like to congratulate Dr. Gholamalipour on being named the 2020 recipient of this fellowship,” said Michael Berman. “Dr. Gholamalipour joins a terrific group of young scientists who have added both knowledge and enthusiasm to the field of HD research, and we are sure that her contribution will be significant.” Previous recipients of the Berman-Topper HD Career Development Fellowship are:
- Ricardo Mouro-Pinto, Massachusetts General Hospital (2016)
- Tamara Mauri, McMaster University (2017)
- Sarah Hernandez, University of California at Irvine (2017)
- Rachel Harding, University of Toronto (2018)
- Lauren Byrne, University College London (2019)
- Nicholas Caron, University of British Columbia (2019)
HDSA received applications from researchers from all around the world for this competitive grant. Dr. Gholamalipour’s project will attempt to reverse the CAG repeat expansion sequence in the mutant huntingtin gene back to the normal range (less than 36 CAG repeats) in cellular and animal HD models using the CRISPR-Cas9 nickase genome-editing tool.
“Dr. Gholamalipour’s application combined an innovative HD research project with a dynamic mentoring and training plan that made her an ideal recipient for this prestigious fellowship. The promise of using genome editing to tackle HD is immense, but before that can become a reality, Yasaman and her collaborators will address fundamental questions of safety and efficacy in pre-clinical models of the disease,” said George Yohrling, PhD, Chief Scientific and Mission Officer at HDSA.
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. Each child of a parent with HD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty gene that causes HD. Today, there are over 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 and 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 1-800-345-HDSA.