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Motor Neuron Diseases

Program Duration: 2-3 years

This fellowship provides an opportunity to engage in clinical and basic research on motor neuron disorders. Advances in understanding basic biology of motor neuron disorders and degenerative dementias have opened new possibilities for therapeutic development. This has led to a growing need for scientists with background and experience in basic science and neurology to lead future bench to bedside efforts. The primary goal of this fellowship is to train clinicians in disease-focused basic research. The secondary goal is to acquire experience in clinical assessment of patients with motor neuron and related cognitive disorders. Fellows will be expected to develop and carry out a research project and to generate preliminary data to support a K-type grant.

Fellows will select a laboratory of one of the faculty members as their scientific home, where they will develop a basic research project. The faculty member will serve as chair of a mentoring committee. Fellows will spend 1 day/week in clinics, where they will gain experience evaluating a variety of motor neuron/frontotemporal dementia patients and expertise in clinical outcome measures typically used in therapeutic trials.

Faculty and Areas of Current Research

Bryan Traynor, M.D., Ph.D., Neuromuscular Diseases Research Unit, Laboratory
of Genetics, NIA,
            •  Genetics of motor neuron disorders

Michael Ward, M.D., Ph.D., Inherited Neurodegenerative Diseases Unit, NINDS.
           •  Forward-genetic and proteomic techniques in iPSC-derived neurons to identify early disease pathways    
               in frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Kenneth Fischbeck, M.D., Chief, Neurogenetics Branch, NINDS.
             Causes and treatment of inherited neurological diseases

Chris Grunseich, M.D., Staff Clinician, Neurogenetics Branch, NINDS.
           •  Molecular mechanisms of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Avindra Nath, M.D., Chief, Section of Infections of the Nervous System, NINDS.
           •  Endogenous retroviruses in motor neuron disorders

Mary Kay Floeter, M.D., Ph.D., Chief, Motor Neuron Disorders Unit, NINDS,
           •  Natural history, imaging, and biomarkers of C9orf72-disease and primary lateral sclerosis