Spinocerebellar ataxia by Puneet Opal

Epigenetics in Spinocerebellar Ataxia
2009 Seed Grant
Puneet Opal, M.D., Ph.D.
Northwestern University

Our lab is interested in understanding events that lead to chronic degenerative diseases that affect the brain. Currently we are studying a genetic disease that leads to cerebellar pathology called Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 1. This disease is caused by a mutation in a gene that lead to an expansion of glutamines (an amino acid) in the protein encoded by this gene. One leading hypothesis is that the diseased protein leads to changes in gene expression that causes deleterious events. Our lab is trying to identify the mechanisms underlying these changes in gene expression so as to lead to future avenues of therapy. The BRF seed grant will be crucial in providing my lab with the funds to obtain more preliminary data to compete for R01 level funding from the NIH.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…