MyoKardia has announced three awardees of the 2020 MyoSeeds research grant programme, who have been selected to receive US$250,000 each in support of research in the biology and underlying mechanisms of cardiomyopathies. MyoSeeds was founded to help advance MyoKardia’s mission to promote understanding and treatment of the underlying drivers of serious cardiovascular diseases, the company said in a press release.
More than 50 applicants submitted proposals, which were assessed for scientific merit, feasibility and impact of the proposed project, and alignment with the research priorities for the funding cycle. The three awardees are:
Ju Chen, University of California, San Diego, USA
Topic: Protective Role of BAG3 in Heart Failure
The goal of the research is to understand why the human BAG3 C151R variant is protective for DCM-induced heart failure. BAG3 is a cardiac co-chaperone protein essential for maintaining protein homeostasis and normal cardiac function. Mutations in BAG3 can result in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and downregulation of BAG3 is associated with heart failure.
Da-Zhi Wang, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, USA
Topic: AAV-based Strategies to Define the Function of Long Non-Coding RNAs in the Heart
The project is designed to investigate novel cardiac-expressed long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) to provide novel molecular information about the genetic controls underlying cardiomyopathy. The majority of the human genome is actively transcribed to produce large numbers of non-coding transcripts, including lncRNAs.
Jorge Alegre-Cebollada, Spanish National Centre for Cardiology Research, Madrid, Spain
Topic: Titin Allelic Discrimination to Uncover Pathophysiology Mechanisms in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)
Researchers are developing a new technology to investigate the interaction between normal and disease-causing titin alleles in cellular models of DCM. Using a fluorescent-based technology, they aim to quantify how much of each titin variant is produced and degraded and localised in the cell. This will uncover if DCM alleles lead to changes in titin levels, altered rates of production/degradation of titin, and/or defective titin localisation
“We started the MyoSeed research grants programme in 2018 with the goal of supporting independent research to help further the understanding of the underlying biology and mechanism of cardiomyopathies and of broader heart failure. The scientific insights that have emerged from the programme are doing just that and we are excited by the contributions to come from this new class of awardees,” said Robert McDowell, MyoKardia’s chief scientific officer. “We congratulate our MyoSeeds fellows on their successful proposals and thank all of the applicants for their participation and interest in advancing the research of cardiovascular diseases.”