Sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SALS) accounts for 90% of all cases of ALS. Its etiology is largely unknown and it is not well studied in African Americans. SALS is thought to be a complex disorder in which an individual inherits a combination of genetic factors that leads to a predisposition to develop symptoms, and then other genetic, behavioral, and/or environmental factors during that person’s life push them over the threshold to develop symptoms. Felix Nuñez Santana, Ph.D., has been studying a potential gene thought to be involved in this predisposition, and version of this gene that is common to those of African descent. A better understanding of the genes involved in SALS can provide clues to disease mechanisms, which is vital for developing rational treatments.
The first group of summer students has arrived in Dr. Siddique’s research laboratory. The students come from area high schools and colleges to work with the lab for a few weeks or several months of their summer vacations. While here, they learn many laboratory research techniques including DNA sequencing and protein analysis, and work with lab personnel on various projects including a critical inventory of our registry samples. Be sure to check out the lab’s website for special updates featuring our students – learn what they’re working on, what brings them to Dr. Siddique’s laboratory, and what they hope to accomplish in the future!