In the medical research world, a “post-doctoral fellow” is the official title for a gifted, young scientist who works 25 hours a day in a laboratory toward research breakthroughs. Thanks to the generosity of its donors, Project ALS has proudly supported several of the world’s finest post-doctoral fellows in ALS and related fields.
This fall, the Tom Kirchhoff Family Fellowship for ALS Research at Project ALS celebrated the three-year success of Joseph Klim, in the lab of Kevin Eggan, at Harvard University. Thanks to the support of the Kirchhoffs, Dr. Klim discovered recently that TDP-43, a protein involved in ALS, was way more involved in the health of motor neurons than previously thought. He also devised a potential therapy, which modulates the effects of TDP-43 in ALS. Says Kevin Eggan, “The discovery that Joe and our team made—supported all the way by Project ALS—suggests a strategy for intervening in all but a very small number of individuals with ALS, regardless of the genetic cause of their disease.”
Dr. Klim now passes Tom Kirchhoff Family Fellowship honors to Emily Lowry, PhD, in the Wichterle Lab at Columbia. Dr. Lowry has devised a method of approximating ALS in a petri dish. Her in vitro model system sheds light on the ALS disease process, and provides a model for testing drugs.
“My dad would be so proud of Project ALS and how far we’ve come in the last eight years,” said Bryn Kirchhoff, who spoke at a recent event, on behalf of her brothers Tommy Jr., Sam, Ty, and the entire Kirchhoff Family. Project ALS is proud of the many post-doctoral fellowships it has supported through recent years, including the Eric McLaren Family Fellowship and the ongoing Carol and Robert Kleiner Family Fellowship.
Motor neurons project out to the muscles in our limbs to drive muscle contraction, allowing us to speak, breathe, and move. These cells are housed