MDA has awarded a research development grant totaling $180,000 over three years to Hao Shi, associate research scientist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The new funds will help support Shi’s study of muscle repair and regeneration in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
Shi plans to study the functional role of a protein called mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase-5, or MKP-5, in DMD. It is known that muscle repair and regeneration are dependent on the MAPKs. However, little is known about how the regulatory pathways that inactivate the MAPKs control muscle repair or whether they are involved in the disease process in skeletal muscle disorders.
Using a mouse model of DMD, Shi and colleagues plan to elucidate the role of MPK-5 in skeletal muscle. They will study the protein's role in muscular dystrophy; define its role in skeletal muscle regeneration; and identify the molecular mechanisms of MKP-5 in muscle stem cell function.
Additionally, the team will use a mouse model engineered to be deficient in MKP-5 to study the process of post-development muscle regeneration.Results from Shi’s studies potentially may reveal one or more biological pathways involved in muscle regeneration at which scientists might target new therapeutics in the disease.
"MDA funding not only provides an alternative avenue of financial support to basic science in an exciting and promising field, but it also facilitates the translation of academic research into potentially meaningful clinical outcomes," Shi said. "We believe that these studies will set the foundation from which validation of MKP-5 as a new therapeutic target for the treatment of muscular dystrophy can be established."
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2011.