Hope Center Scientist Dr. Rohit Pappu has received grants totaling more than $4.5 million to study the causes behind Huntington’s disease.

The research was initially funded by a Pilot Project grant Dr. Pappu and Dr. Mark Diamond received in 2010 from the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders. Pappu said the grant for the pilot program provided the space to ask challenging questions about this complex disease.

“These pilot programs are an important feature of the research ecosystem at Washington University, and they highlight one of the major strengths of this institution — that there are no barriers between the School of Medicine and Engineering,” Pappu said. “They highlight what centers can do in our ecosystems if they have resources.”

The National Institutes for Health have awarded Dr. Pappu two grants. The first grant ($2.84 million) will support research by Poppu– and his collaborators, Marc I. Diamond, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Ralf Langen of the University of Southern California — to mimic profilin, a protein that modulates the clumping together of huntingtin, the gene responsible for Huntington’s Disease when mutated.

“The central tenet here is that if you know how something works, you can mimic it — it’s a sound engineering principle,” Pappu said.

The second grant provides $1.67 million for an additional five years to continue studying how the mutations within the repetitive region of huntingtin and its flanking sequences modulate the stickiness of this protein.

News release from Washington University in St. Louis.


Rohit V. Pappu

 Dr. Rohit V. Pappu