Every year special projects are selected by a team at the Rett Syndrome Association of Massachusetts. Here are this years projects:
The first project we are supporting is the work of Timothy Hammond, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Beth Stevens’ lab at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The Stevens lab is doing groundbreaking research into a novel area of basic Rett syndrome research—understanding the role that MeCP2 plays in a population of brain cells known as microglia. Microglia are immune cells that live in the brain and perform a number of critical functions, including maintaining the health of neurons and promoting strong connections between those neurons. Studying MeCP2 in the context of microglia is an exciting new area within the field, and Timothy’s work has added significance in that he is studying how IGF-1 impacts the ability of normal and mutant microglia to support the survival and function of neurons in mouse models of Rett syndrome.
The second project we are supporting is more clinically oriented. We will be supporting the work of Michela Fagiolini, Ph.D., who runs her own laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. One of her current projects is focused on strategies to compensate for reduced neurotransmitter levels present in the central nervous system of Rett syndrome patients by stimulating two specific (and related) NMDA neurotransmitter receptors present on neurons. In the study, she will be testing the ability of a number of both these receptor modulators to delay and treat cortical neuron regression in mouse models of Rett syndrome. The ultimate goal is to develop new drug candidates that target these receptors for clinical use.
Please consider visiting tampamomruns.com/runboston to support these two projects!