UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Pietro Fratta at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology secures major MRC award for ALS research

11 April 2019

We are delighted to announce that Dr Pietro Fratta has been awarded a MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship. This is one of only two awarded by the MRC, both to UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology: the other being awarded to Dr Rickie Patani

Dr Fratta

Dr Pietro Fratta’s Fellowship "The impact of TDP-43 on translation and the response to axonal damage in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis" is jointly funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and investigates how genetic factors and environmental stimuli converge to trigger ALS. 

The Fratta lab studies the early molecular mechanisms occurring in this devastating neurodegenerative disease.  The Fellowship focuses on the interplay between axonal damage and RNA binding proteins (RBPs), which are important genetic causes of ALS. RBPs participate in the processing, transport and translation of the DNA information, and do so in most cells of the body. The lab studies the highly specific functions RBPs have in neurons, their role in the neuronal response to damage, and how this essential mechanism malfunctions in disease.

To address these questions the lab uses novel cell and animal models of disease, along with cutting edge bioinformatics, molecular and cell biology approaches, and extensively collaborates with groups throughout UCL.  The Fratta lab ultimately aims to identify early steps of disease and translate these findings to therapeutic strategies that can modify the course of ALS.

“These are truly exciting times for ALS research and this Fellowship will allow us to address crucial questions about this devastating disease. I am grateful to the MRC for really wanting to fund this proposal, and to my numerous collaborators and colleagues in the Neuromuscular Disease Department and throughout UCL for their support.” Dr Pietro Fratta, Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
“I am delighted to congratulate Pietro on this major achievement in securing a highly competitive MRC Senior Fellowship. Pietro’s excellent research is increasing our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the degeneration of motor neurons and the neuromuscular system failure that occurs in motor neuron disease. Pietro’s research is a key part of an extremely strong basic and clinical research programme in motor neuron diseases at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology. A deeper understanding of fundamental diseases mechanisms is essential in order to develop and test new therapies in this devastating disease” Professor Michael Hanna, Director, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology

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