Mabel A. Woodyard Fellowships in Neurodegenerative Disorders awarded
August 31, 2015
The Institute for Neurological Discoveries at the University of Kansas Medical Center has announced the 2015 recipients of the Mabel A. Woodyard Fellowships in Neurodegenerative Disorders. This is the fourth year that the awards have been presented to students and fellows at the University of Kansas and KU Medical Center.
This year's awardees include:
- Heather Wilkins, Ph.D., whose project is entitled "Bioenergetic Influence of Tau Phosphorylation" and will examine how energy metabolism with nerve cells affects the build-up of proteins that may be toxic and lead to neurodegeneration. For the past two years Wilkins has studied in the laboratory of Russell Swerdlow, M.D.
- Alex Karanevich, whose project is on "Predictive Models to Hasten ALS Drug Development" which promises to greatly improve design of clinical trials in neurodegeneration. He is currently studying for his Ph.D. in biostatistics with Byron Gajewski, Ph.D., and Jeffery Statland, M.D.
- Scott J. Koppel, for his project on "Mitochondrial Function and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Pathophysiology" seeks to provide insight into how abnormalities in mitochondria contribute to the development of progressive supranuclear palsy. Koppel is an M.D./Ph.D. student working under the guidance of Russell Swerdlow, M.D.
The fellowships were established with $1.25 million gift to KU Endowment from the estate of the late Mabel Woodyard. She died in 2008 from progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurodegenerative disorder that results in movement deficits similar to Parkinson's disease. Woodyard's association with KU arose through her brother, George Woodyard, who died in 2010. He was a professor of Spanish from 1966 to 2005 and held a variety of administrative positions at KU. He was KU's first dean of international studies.