2023 Postdoctoral Fellowships awarded

ALS Research

We are honored to announce the recipients of the Live Like Lou Foundation’s 2023 Postdoctoral Fellowship awards. Alexander Cammack, PhD, from University College London, and Yifu Han, PhD, from the University of Southern California were selected to receive $75,000 per year in direct funding for up to two years to pursue a novel, independent, and promising ALS investigation. This Live Like Lou research grant aims to support scientists in the early stages of postdoctoral training at an R1-level institutional research laboratory.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with both Postdoctoral Fellowship recipients,” said W.L. Gray, chairman of the Live Like Lou Foundation Board of Trustees. “We are eager to see the outcomes of these awards on the science, and on both Dr. Cammack’s and Dr. Han’s careers.”

Both recipients’ research focuses on a gene mutation called C9orf72, which is the most common genetic mutation identified in individuals with ALS and is reported to be present in 40 to 50 percent of patients with familial (hereditary) ALS and five to ten percent of patients with sporadic ALS.

“Dr. Han’s and Dr. Cammack's work will offer answers to important questions about the genetic mutation C9orf72 identified in individuals with ALS,” said Gaylon Morris, Live Like Lou Trustee and Scientific Research Committee chairman. “By supporting this early stage research, Live Like Lou helps advance their research ideas and ensures multiple paths are explored as the science community searches for treatments or a cure.”

About Dr. Alexander Cammack

Dr. Cammack is a postdoctoral research fellow under Dr. Adrian Isaacs at the UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London. Dr. Cammack previously completed his graduate work under Dr. Tim Miller at Washington University in St. Louis and is interested in studying the relevance of molecular pathways in ALS.

Dr. Cammack’s Research Project: Dysregulated lipid metabolism as an upstream cause of neurodegeneration in ALS. This research project seeks to understand how the C9orf72 mutation causes nerve cells to die in the brains and spinal cords of individuals with ALS. This award will allow Dr. Cammack to expand his research to investigate the role of lipids in human neurons and mouse models.

Research gleaned from this project will reveal the mechanisms by which altered lipid metabolism contribute to the development of ALS and whether restoring proper lipid levels is a viable therapeutic intervention for preventing neurodegeneration from occurring.

About Yifu Han, PhD

Dr. Han is a postdoctoral fellow under Dr. Justin Ichida at the University of Southern California. Dr. Han previously completed his graduate work under Dr. Dion Dickman at USC and is interested in investigating disease mechanisms and new therapeutic approaches for ALS, with a primary focus on the neuroimmune system.

Dr. Han’s Research Project: Harnessing neuroprotective microglia to slow neurodegeneration in C9orf72 ALS. This research project seeks to identify a potential therapeutic target for ALS associated with the C9orf72 mutation by examining the role a group of immune cells called microglia play in disease progression. Research derived from this project will help answer an important question about how microglia contribute to disease onset and progression and how modulating the levels of good versus toxic microglia may lead to potential therapies or treatments.

“Both recipients' work epitomizes our vision to leave ALS better than we found it,” said Live Like Lou Executive Director Wendy Faust. “We’re thrilled to launch the second year of our postdoctoral awards to strengthen our dedication to collaboration, research partnerships, unique instruction, and grant opportunities not otherwise available to emerging ALS investigators.”

The Live Like Lou Foundation’s inaugural recipient of the Live Like Lou Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2022 was Daryl P. Fields, MD, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh. The results of his study are expected later this year.

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