In light of the upcoming Biomedical Research Advisory Panel meeting happening on Friday 7 April that will discuss which new research projects the MND Association will fund, we are pleased to report on the progress of one of our already-funded researchers. In their three year project, funded by the MND Association, Prof Annalisa Pastore (King’s College London) and Prof Gian Tartaglia (University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) are investigating the process by which TDP-43 binds to RNA. Below is a summary of the progress they made during their first year.
Background to the project
Annalisa Pastore, King’s College London
One of the causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common type of motor neurone disease (MND), is related to faulty functioning of the TDP-43 protein, a component that is naturally present in all of our cells. In healthy cells, TDP-43 resides in the centre of a cell (the nucleus) where it attaches to RNA and supports correct gene expression – that is, it helps to extract information carried by a gene to form proteins, the main building blocks of our bodies.
MND Association-funded researchers, Prof Dame Kay Davies and Dr Peter Oliver, both based at the University of Oxford, have identified the oxidation resistance 1 (OXR1) gene as a neuroprotective factor in MND.
Published in the journal Brain on 9 March 2015, Prof Davies has shown through their recent research in mice that OXR1 may serve a new target for future drug development.
It’s that time of year again when we open our Online Summary Application Form for our next round of PhD studentship applications, for projects starting in October 2015. The deadline for summary applications is Friday 2 May 2014.
Our last round saw an all time record number of studentship applications. We received 24 summary applications and went on to fund five of these – attracting new researchers and institutes.
Victoria Pugh, one of our current PhD students
Promising Young Researchers
Our PhD studentship grants allow us to attract and fund promising young scientists starting their careers in MND research and to help us continue to develop the UK basic research capacity. As with all our research projects, we aim to fund the ‘best of the best’. Our rigorous application process allows us to ensure we only fund studentships of the highest quality and of direct relevance to MND. To find out more on our application process please see our website.
We are currently funding 14 studentships, with five of these due to start in October 2014.
We hope this year’s PhD studentship round is as exciting as last year!