For Immediate Release
Contact: Christopher Cosentino
Director of Marketing & Communications
Phone: (212) 242-1968 x229


 Scientists working at University of Wyoming, Columbia University, Catholic University of America and University of Central Florida awarded fellowships to work on Huntington’s disease

New York, NY (May 2, 2017) — The Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowships, a vital program to train the next-generation of scientists with research expertise in Huntington’s disease (HD).

After rigorous review by the HDSA’s Scientific Advisory Board, four young scientists were awarded 2017 Donald A. King Summer Research Fellowships.

  • Kiryung Kim (Columbia University) will spend the summer working with Ai Yamamoto, PhD to elucidate the molecular mechanism of Alfy-mediated mutant huntingtin aggregate clearance.
  • Paul Elizade (The Catholic University of America) will be working under the guidance of John Choy, PhD on a project that aims to better define the underlying mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease.
  • Christopher Yanick (University of Central Florida) will be working with current HDSA Human Biology Project fellow, Amber Southwell, PhD to investigate mutant huntingtin protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of HD patients to refine its use as a biomarker in future huntingtin lowering trials.
  • Teal Jenkins (University of Washington Medical School) will spend the summer working at the University of Wyoming in the laboratory of Jonathan Fox, PhD. She will study the effect of latent Tocoplasma gondii infection on neurodegeneration in the YAC128 Huntington’s disease mice model.

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 secondly, to facilitate meaningful HD research to clarify the biological mechanisms underlying HD pathology.  Applicants are evaluated by the quality of the personal academic achievements, the mentoring plan for candidate, scientific rigor of the experimental design, and feasibility to achieve significant deliverables in a short summer timeframe.

Fellows present the outcomes of their projects to the HD community the summer following their award at the HDSA Annual Convention.  The 32nd Annual HDSA Convention, featuring the 2016 King Fellows, takes place June 22-24, 2017 in Schaumburg, IL.   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 inheriting the faulty gene that causes the disease. 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.