For Immediate Release
Contact: Mynelly Perez
New York, NY, December 4th, 2023 — Today, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) announced that six research grants have been awarded under the Society’s largest research initiative, the HDSA Huntington’s Disease Human Biology Project. These grants represent HDSA’s patient-centric research focus which brings basic and clinical researchers together to facilitate Huntington’s disease (HD) science in the human condition – instead of in animal models – with the direct participation of people affected by HD.
“From single cells and DNA changes to imaging studies and at-home interventions, this year’s fellows are taking novel approaches to the study of HD in people. We’re excited to support their efforts towards drug development, identification of biomarkers, and innovative interventions,” said Dr. Leora Fox, Assistant Director of Research & Patient Engagement at HDSA.
HDSA received applications from researchers all around the world. Ultimately, grants were awarded to research fellows from Hungary, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The winners and titles of the 2022 HDSA HD Human Biology Project Grants are:
- Jessica Levesley, PhD, University of British Columbia: Investigation of the Effect and Mechanistic Drivers of Loss of Interruption Modifier Variants in Huntington Disease Patients
- Thiago Macedo e Cordeiro, MD, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston: Home-based TDCS for cognitive and behavioral symptoms in Huntington’s disease: a pilot feasibility and mechanistic study
- Roy Maimon, PhD, University of California San Diego: Identifying Mechanisms of Adult Neurogenesis by Exploiting Single Cell Spatial Transcriptomics and Application to HD. *This project is generously supported by the Bev Hartig Huntington’s Disease Foundation, https://bevhartighuntingtonsdisease.com/.
- Nikhil Ratna, PhD, University of Washington: Bringing a Historical HD Brain Bank into the Single Cell Era
- Natalia Pessoa Rocha, PhD, PharmD, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston: Olfactory dysfunction and clinical correlates in patients with Huntington’s disease
- Xiangrui Zeng, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital: Integrating clinical MRI and ultra-high resolution ex vivo MRI to model laminar anomaly progression in Huntington’s disease
For a complete summary of these six research projects, please visit http://hdsa.org/hd-research/hd-human-biology-project
“HDSA strives to support human-centric research all along the pipeline,” added Dr. Arik Johnson, Chief Mission Officer at HDSA. “Every project funded through this initiative reflects the collaborative efforts of people living with HD, whether as direct participants or generous donors of samples or tissue.”
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 Huntington’s disease. Today, there are over 41,000 symptomatic Americans and more than 200,000 at-risk of inheriting the disease. The symptoms of Huntington’s disease 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.
Media: Mynelly Perez, HDSA Director of Marketing & Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org