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AFTD Announces 2023 Pathways for Hope Pilot Grant Recipients

AFTD Pilot Grant Program – our longest-running funding opportunity – provides seed funding for innovative FTD research, laying the foundation for additional support from a larger funder. Pathways for Hope Pilot Grants target early-career researchers who conduct basic (discovery) and translational research that is the first step in advancing promising science from the laboratory to the clinic.

AFTD is proud to announce the two most recent Pathways for Hope pilot grant recipients:

Zevik Melamed, PhD, group leader in the Department of Medical Neurobiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, received a Pathways for Hope pilot grant for his proposal titled “Screening synthetic promoters to uncover determinants of FTD pathology.” » He will use a new approach called synthetic biology to study disruptions in the way genes are translated into proteins in brain cells carrying the pathogenic variant of the C9orf72 gene. It aims in particular to identify changes in the cellular “switches” regulating the translation process which are likely to represent the first steps in the development of C9orf72-FTD.

Zachary McEachin, Ph.D., assistant professor at Emory University, received a Pathways for Hope Pilot Grant for his proposal titled “Integrated Proteomics and Phosphoproteomics in FTLD-TDP Subtypes.” To better understand the biological mechanisms underlying FTD pathology with TDP43, Dr. McEachin will analyze the collection of proteins produced by brain cells – known as the proteome – to identify protein “signatures” in the forms genetics of FTD-TDP-43. These models can be used to identify new targets for drug and biomarker development.