Project ALS hosted Women & the Brain: A Night of Comedy on March 8th at City Winery in New York. Women & the Brain, an initiative of Project ALS, educates women on brain health throughout the year with discussions, experts and events. Women & the Brain funds scholarships and research relating to neuroscience and brain diseases—namely, ALS.
The night of March 8th featured stand-up performances by legendary comics Judy Gold, Carol Leifer and Aparna Nancherla, along with a live auction hosted by SoulCycle master instructor Stacey Griffith. Appearances were also made by Valerie Estess, Project ALS director of research, Staci Kirchhoff, Project ALS board member, and Emily Lowry, PhD, a past Women & the Brain scholarship recipient and current ALS researcher.
The event raised close to $150,000 and will fund the 2018 Women & the Brain scholarship, which supports the education of Karen Gambina, a 2nd year student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons who is pursuing a career in Neuroscience. Funds also support critical ALS drug testing at the Project ALS Pre-Clinical Core at Columbia, spearheaded mainly by Emily Lowry. Dr. Lowry is testing a new compound developed from an in-house screen of potential ALS drugs that appear to be brain penetrant and engage the “ER stress pathway”—an appealing target in ALS and related neurodegenerative diseases.
Women & the Brain was developed when Project ALS realized that women have taken control of understanding their heart, breast and reproductive health, but the brain remains a mystery. Experts say that brain disease—including ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s—is the next epidemic of the 21st century. Whether as a patient, a concerned relative, or a caregiver, all women will be touched by a neurological disease in their lifetime.
The current issue of Neuroscience journal is dedicated to the staggering contributions to science made by longtime Project ALS Research Advisory Board Chair Thomas M. Jessell, PhD, before his death from the rare neurodegenerative disease progressive supranuclear palsy on April 28, 2019, at 67.