The Live Like Lou Foundation is pleased to announce that Devesh Pant, PhD, from Emory University, is the recipient of Live Like Lou’s 2023 Career Development Award which funds $200,000 over two years. This award aims to bolster the careers of emerging scientists, facilitating the advancement of innovative ideas toward securing substantial funding for the critical study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Dr. Pant's project, “Role of altered sphingolipids in the pathophysiology of ALS,” was considered among a field of proposals. The project centers on studying changes in the SPTLC1 gene linked to Juvenile ALS (JALS). This gene plays a role in the body's lipid production, creating sphingolipids. Mutations in SPTLC1 result in the abnormal production of these lipids. Dr. Pant aims to uncover the specific molecular processes driving JALS due to irregular sphingolipid production, utilizing various model systems for investigation.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with Dr. Pant's selection as our 2023 recipient,” said W.L. Gray, chairman of the Live Like Lou Foundation board of trustees. “We are always looking for promising researchers in the early stage of their careers who may need additional support to help advance their research ideas. Dr. Pant certainly meets these criteria and more.”
The Live Like Lou Scientific Research Committee, chaired by Gaylon Morris, Live Like Lou trustee, offered, "Dr. Pant’s project focuses on a relatively unexplored area of ALS research in lipid metabolism. Lipid dysregulation has been described in ALS patients, so this research is an opportunity to shed some light on its mechanism. We hope that this funding will allow Dr. Pant to further investigate the SPTLC1 mutation and take the next step in his promising research career".
“Our investment in ALS discovery is unique and impactful,” said Live Like Lou Executive Director Wendy Faust. “Our funded scientists truly are leaving ALS better than they found it.”
Dr. Pant is an instructor at Emory and most recently served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Jiang Lab at Emory University's Department of Cell Biology. He holds a master's in biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Advanced Research and a PhD in biomedicine from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain.
The Live Like Lou Foundation’s inaugural recipients of the Career Development Award in 2019 were Veronique Belzil, PhD, from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and Manolis Kellis, PhD, of the Broad Institute of Massachusetts (MIT). They went on to receive a $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2021.
The 2020 Live Like Lou Career Development Award recipient was Aaron Haeusler, PhD, of the Thomas Jefferson University Department of Neurosciences. In 2021 Dr. Stephanie Moon from the University of Michigan received the award.