Profiles of Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Vicente Valenzuela

The Association is pleased to continue on the tradition of supporting bright, young scientists in ALS research through the Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This year, we are supporting six new postdoctoral fellows out of a highly competitive applicant pool. In this series, we highlight the dedication and unique contribution each fellow makes to ALS research. Today, we feature Dr. Vicente Valenzuela from University of Chile.

Can Football Cause ALS? A Look at the Research

This week, former San Francisco 49ers receiver Dwight Clark announced he has ALS. He joins other NFL football greats including Steve Gleason, Tim Shaw, Kevin Turner, O.J. Brigance, and others, who have been diagnosed with ALS following their pro football careers. These announcements have brought much attention to the connection between football and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the question of whether such injuries from football can lead to ALS or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Here, we highlight some research behind the possible connection.

Profiles of Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Jeanne McKeon

The Association is pleased to continue on the tradition of supporting bright, young scientists in ALS research through the Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This year, we are supporting six new postdoctoral fellows out of a highly competitive applicant pool. In this series, we highlight the dedication and unique contribution each fellow makes to ALS research. Today, we feature Dr. Jeanne McKeon from University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Research Program, falls under our TREAT ALSTM Global Research Program and was founded by the Safenowitz family through the Greater New York Chapter of The Association. Mr. Safenowitz died of ALS in 1998 and the family and chapter continues its support to this day. Each award is for $100,000 over a two year period.

These awards are designed to encourage and facilitate promising young scientists to enter the ALS field and most importantly, to remain. Lending to the success of our program, over 90 percent of our postdoctoral fellows go on to start their own ALS research laboratories and then mentor their own young scientists.

Here we highlight each of our postdoctoral fellows awarded in 2016 in a series to learn more about their exciting studies and get to know the person behind the bench. Our fourth featured fellow is Dr. Jeanne McKeon who is exploring how inherited ALS mutations in the profilin-1 (PFN1) gene impacts the structural integrity of cells.

Jeanne McKeon, Ph.D.

Mentor: Daryl Bosco, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Mass.

Jeanne McKeon_ALSA

Project: Disruption of actin dynamics as a pathogenic mechanism in ALS

What is the impact of your research?

My research seeks to understand how mutations in a familial ALS-linked protein involved in the actin cytoskeleton cause disease. These studies will yield critical insight into pathogenic mechanisms that may also be at play in sporadic ALS.

Why do you love working in ALS research?

I believe that in order to develop much needed therapeutics we must first understand the basics mechanisms underlying the disease.

Tell me something unique about yourself.

I became fascinated in neurodegenerative disease research as an undergrad and have been working in this field ever since.

Who are your heroes?

I would consider heroes all the people working tirelessly toward cures for ALS and other diseases.

Read more about her project here.

Read more about this year’s postdoctoral class here  in our press release.

 

Profiles of Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Bruno Miguel da Cruz Godinho

The Association is pleased to continue on the tradition of supporting bright, young scientists in ALS research through the Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This year, we are supporting six new postdoctoral fellows out of a highly competitive applicant pool. In this series, we highlight the dedication and unique contribution each fellow makes to ALS research. Today, we feature Dr. Bruno Miguel da Cruz Godinho from University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Timothy Miller and Team Win the $1 Million TDP-43 Biomarker Grand Challenge

This week, The ALS Association in partnership with ALS Finding a Cure® (ALSFAC) announced the $1 million winner of the TDP-43 Grand Challenge – a team led by Dr. Timothy Miller of Washington University in St. Louis, including Drs. Paul Kotzbauer, Vijay Sharma, Nigel Cairns and Yuna Ayala of Saint Louis University. The team is developing a unique imaging biomarker to track TDP-43, a protein found in almost all cases of ALS.

New Urinary Biomarker Discovered to Track ALS

By: Dr. Mary-Louise Rogers

Research supported by The ALS Association has led to the discovery of a new and simple test to monitor disease progression in people with ALS and potentially to help evaluate drugs under investigation in ALS clinical trials. Levels of a protein called “p75ECD”, that is known to be present in urine after nerve injury were found to increase as ALS progressed, suggesting p75ECD can be used as a “biomarker” that reflects motor neuron degeneration in people with ALS. The study, led by researchers Dr. Mary-Louise Rogers (below left) from Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia and Professor Michael Benatar (below right) from University of Miami was published in the prestigious journal Neurology on February 23rd.

Profiles of Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Tiffany Todd

The Association is pleased to continue on the tradition of supporting bright, young scientists in ALS research through the Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This year, we are supporting six new postdoctoral fellows out of a highly competitive applicant pool. In this series, we highlight the dedication and unique contribution each fellow makes to ALS research. Today, we feature Dr. Tiffany Todd from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

Profiles of Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Sergey Stavisky

The Association is pleased to continue on the tradition of supporting bright, young scientists in ALS research through the Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This year, we are supporting six new postdoctoral fellows out of a highly competitive applicant pool. In this series, we highlight the dedication and unique contribution each fellow makes to ALS research. Today, we feature Dr. Sergey Stavisky from Stanford University

Upper Motor Neurons Contribute to ALS in Human Brain Tissue

ALS is characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons – both upper motor neurons (UMNs) and lower motor neurons (LMNs). Within the ALS scientific community there has been a debate how UMNs and LMNs contribute to disease. Dr. Ozdinler and team from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago recently published a paper in Scientific Reports, a high impact journal published by Nature, further solidifying the important contribution of UMNs to disease specifically in people living with ALS. The ALS Association is pleased to support Dr. Ozdinler’s studies that contributed to this important paper.