Wright State receives $450,000 grant to study ALS

Wright State University has been granted a $450,000 grant to research the neurological disease ALS. U.S. Ohio Representative Michael Turner announced the three year grant, which will begin April 1, the university announced in a release.

The grant will fund the work of principal investigator Shulin Ju and co-investigator Quan Zhong, both associate professors of biological sciences at Wright State.

“We are grateful for the funding of this important project,” Ju said. “Both undergraduate and graduate students have made huge contributions to research in our labs. With this funding, we will support many more talented undergraduate and graduate students to gain research experience that otherwise will be cut short.”

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that starts with the progressive loss of muscle function followed by paralysis and ultimately death due to inability to breathe. There is no cure for ALS and no effective treatment to halt or reverse the progression of the disease. Most people with ALS die within three to five years from when symptoms first appear, Wright State reported.

Ju and Zhong’s research is aimed at understanding mechanisms of the cellular toxicity of the protein-coding gene FUS, mutations in which cause ALS.

“Understanding why FUS is toxic and how modifier genes enable cells to survive hopefully will lead to the discovery of novel therapeutic targets, which are desperately needed for curing this devastating disease,” Ju said.

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