Dr. Hari Krishna Yalamanchili, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. Zhandong Liu, at Baylor College of Medicine, received the 2018 NRI Zoghbi Scholar Award, a special fund established by Dr. Huda Zoghbi, director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children's Hospital, to honor the many generations of trainees who have worked in her laboratory and to foster the next generation of successful scientists.
Dr. Yalamanchili’s proposal was titled, "Decoding Cryptic Splicing in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Driving Disease Gene Discovery,”. He received a certificate and plaque by Dr. Zoghbi on October 9 at the NRI.
The award, established in 2017, is open to senior NRI postdoctoral fellows who anticipate transitioning to independent investigator positions within a year or so. The award is intended to provide grant support and mentorship to senior trainees as they begin to develop ideas for their future research programs. The scholars receive $50,000 to pursue innovative projects that will form the foundation of their independent research programs. In addition, this year’s awardee will also receive a cash prize of $3,000.
Although only one scholar receives the financial support each year, the selection committee, comprised of Drs. Mingshan Xue, Marco Sardiello, Mirjana Maletic-Savatic, and Meng Wang, strives to provide equally detailed feedback and mentorship to all the applicants to help with their future faculty job and grant applications. Their goal is to promote the success of every applicant.
This year’s awardee, Dr. Yalamanchili, is interested in employing computational approaches to identify novel genes that cause Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Many genes currently implicated in ALS exhibit changes in RNA splicing patterns. Dr. Yalamanchili proposes to use bioinformatics techniques to identify and then experimentally test other RNA processing genes to find if they contribute to ALS.
Dr. Shuang Hao, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. Jianrong Tang, was the inaugural recipient of this award. She received this award to study the effects of deep brain stimulation on motor deficits in mouse models of Angelman syndrome.
More information about the award application process is available here.