For the second summer, DART will be sponsoring four undergraduate science students to work in research laboratories studying Niemann-Pick type C disease. Each of the labs is involved on the front lines of developing therapies for NP-C and two are working on obtaining approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a new drug trial application for NP-C for cyclodextrin.
“When I asked a few of our researchers if there were aspects of their day we could help them with to speed up the process, many said that they needed extra bodies to do the day to day tasks. So we realized we could benefit the labs, students interested in science and kids with NP-C all at the same time without too much cost,” said Phil Marella, Trustee of DART.
The four students are science majors at Washington and Lee University where Mr. Marella received his undergraduate degree. Bob Stewart, Assoc. Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Program in Neuroscience at W&L adds, “I believe it’s of paramount importance for these students to have a real flesh and blood connection to NPC, for it allows them to move beyond working on mechanisms and therapies to the larger issue of orphan diseases and the policies and practices of academic and corporate basic science research”.
The four students selected for this summer’s program are Keaton Fletcher of Littleton, Colorado who will be interning at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Jena Glavy of Stafford, Virginia who will be interning at Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Jina Park of Duluth, Georgia who will be interning at the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development; and Robert Vestal of Memphis, Tennessee who will be interning at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
An added point of interest; one of the principal investigators at University of Texas Southwestern is Nobel Laureate Dr. Joseph Goldstein, who is also a graduate of Washington and Lee University.