MDA awarded a research grant totaling $358,242 over three years to Christine Vande Velde, research assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center in Montreal, Quebec (Canada). The funds will help support Vande Velde’s study of the role of TDP43 and the stress granule mechanism in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Vande Velde and colleagues are looking at the interplay between genetic susceptibility and environmental exposures to toxins that are thought to be relevant in ALS. It’s known that cells exercise a variety of mechanisms to mediate recovery following exposure to environmental stress, one of which is the formation of proteins and RNA molecules into clumps called stress granules.
In previous work, Vande Velde’s team has indicated that TDP43 plays an important role in stress granule formation.
“In particular, this grant focuses on TDP43 and its regulation of an important cell survival mechanism: the formation of stress granules,” Vande Velde explains. Her team will use a combination of cellular and rodent models to dissect the stress granule mechanism in which TDP43 operates and determine the impact of ALS-causing mutations on this pathway.
“This is an exciting area for ALS research,” Vande Velde says, “as demonstrated by a recent convergence on this topic by many groups.”
Funding for this MDA grant began Aug. 1, 2012.