FAST is excited to announce two new fellows: Dr. Xiaona Lu at Yale University and Dr. Xin Yang at Brown University. Fellowships such as these are important not only in supporting fundamental research that align with our Roadmap to a Cure, but also in providing opportunities to help build the next generation of scientific leaders to support and expand Angelman syndrome research.
Dr. Xiaona Lu – Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Mentor: Dr. Yong-Hui Jiang
- Area of Focus: Pillar 2
- Grant title: Non-Viral Delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing for Angelman Syndrome
- Fellowship Summary: This fellowship will support research into a highly promising novel therapeutic of a non-viral Cas9/sgRNA using a chemically modified ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex to turn on silenced paternal Ube3a expression. This potential therapeutic is encouraging as it is non-viral, thus avoiding possible risks associated with viral delivery systems, and would likely be a one-time treatment approach.
- Overview: Dr. Lu is a postdoctoral fellow mentored by Dr. Yong-Hui Jiang, and her work will focus on reactivating the paternal UBE3A gene, which falls under Pillar 2. Her career focuses on research that aims to improve the quality of life of individuals with genetic disorders, including Angelman syndrome. Her current training in Dr. Jiang’s lab at Yale Genetics provides her the opportunity to explore and develop therapeutic strategies for individuals with Angelman syndrome.
Dr. Xin Yang – Postdoctoral Fellowship
- Mentor: Dr. Alvin Huang
- Area of Focus: Pillar 3
- Grant title: Targeting Oligodendroglial Dysfunction in Angelman Syndrome
- Fellowship Summary: This fellowship will support research investigating the significance of UBE3A in oligodendroglial development and function as well as the impact of reversal of oligodendroglial dysfunction using a selective estrogen receptor b agonist. The strategy of targeting glial cells and myelination formation is promising as it could provide an alternative approach to drug development in the AS community.
- Overview: Dr. Yang is a postdoctoral fellow mentored by Dr. Alvin Huang, and his work will focus on oligodendroglial dysfunction in AS, which falls under Pillar 3. Dr. Yang joined Dr. Huang’s laboratory at Brown University for a shared vision of innovation in research. Leveraging the induced pluripotent stem cell technique and traditional mouse models, his current focus is to understand the role of UBE3A in oligodendroglial physiology and pathophysiology, which could potentially accelerate the translation of novel therapeutic candidates for Angelman syndrome.