June 17, 2015 — For the second time in two weeks, the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation and FightSMA, two organizations created to defeat the childhood neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), have given out a second-year Emerging Investigator grant. The grant of $58,750 has been awarded to Dr. Lyndsay Murray of the University of Edinburgh. This is the third research grant awarded Dr. Murray by the two organizations.
Dr. Murray was earlier awarded a 2013 EIA grant of $25,000 and a 2013 EIA Finalist grant of $62,500 from the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (www.thegsf.org) and FightSMA (www.fightsma.org).
The two organizations announced on June 3, a similar “follow-on” award of $58,750 to Dr. Kevin Foust of Ohio State University for SMA research.
Since its creation in 2013 by the two research funding organizations, the Emerging Investigator Awards program has provided more than $500,000 to scientists who are among the most outstanding of the upcoming generation of SMA researchers.
“SMA is unquestionably one of the fastest progressing research efforts on the globe,” said Mike Calise, Chair of FightSMA, “but it’s vital that we keep up the momentum. These second-year Emerging Investigator grants help keep up that momentum.”
“At this current time, we’ve found that SMN restoration is hugely beneficial during the pre-symptomatic stage of SMA,” said Bill Strong, co-founder of the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. “However, we’ve found that the benefits of SMN restoration decrease as the disease progresses – even in its earliest stages. Dr. Murray’s research in the early stages of the disease will help us understand the therapeutic time window and develop therapeutics for patients being treated after the onset of symptoms.”
“The grant provided by FightSMA and the GSF will be instrumental in the progression of the project,” said Dr. Murray. “It will cover the reagents and tools which are required. Furthermore, my lab is relatively new. This award is key funding during this transitional phase. It will be instrumental in springboarding new projects and obtaining further funding in the future.”
FightSMA (http://www.fightsma.org ) is a 24-year-old nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to finding a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic cause of infant death. The group has awarded research grants at nearly 50 universities and research institutions in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.
The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (http://www.thegsf.org) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing global awareness of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), accelerating research, and supporting families impacted by SMA and other life-altering conditions. The GSF motto is: “NEVER GIVE UP.”