In the human nervous system, proteins, RNA and other cellular material need a free-flowing molecular highway. But when a “traffic jam” develops, the consequences are severe: One of several neurodegenerative diseases can arise. A better understanding of how and why those genetic traffic jams occur is an important step toward understanding disease progression.
University of Florida Health genetics researcher Eric Wang, Ph.D., has been awarded a five-year, $2.5 million grant to determine how certain proteins and RNA are chosen for a crucial trip on the intracellular highway. He will also develop mouse models that better mimic how certain neurodegenerative diseases, in particular repeat expansion diseases, present in humans.