MDA has awarded a research development grant totaling $180,000 over three years to John Lueck, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City. The new funds will help support Lueck’s research into the mechanisms responsible for muscle weakness and degeneration in type 1 myotonic muscular dystrophy (MMD1, or DM1).
Although a number of bodily systems are affected in MMD1, likely due to flaws in a number of molecular pathways, and while some progress has been made in understanding certain of these areas, the particular mechanism that underlies muscle weakness and degeneration in the disease has yet to be elucidated.
Lueck and colleagues plan to use a multifaceted approach, using research mouse models of MMD1 and tissue taken from individuals with MMD1 to zero in on the specific molecular flaws responsible for muscle weakness and degeneration, as well as the mechanisms through which those flaws work. Such understanding is crucial for both understanding the MMD1 disease process and for pinpointing targets at which potential therapeutics may be aimed.
"As I am in the early career stages of becoming an independent investigator, the process of obtaining MDA funding has been crucial for gaining experience in grantsmanship, and securing funding for my work," Lueck said. "Importantly, MDA is promoting basic and applied research to not only better understand normal function but also mechanisms of muscle disease and therapy development."
Funding for this MDA grant began February 1, 2011.