We are delighted to be able to announce the second year of Myotubular Trust research grants. Myotubular Trust put out a call for grants last September and after a rigorous application and peer review process our Scientific Advisory Board has recommended that we support an application from Dr Manuela D’Alessandro at The Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC) in Strasborg, France. We have awarded Dr Manuela D’Alessandro a 3 year post doctoral fellowship of £120,000 for her exciting and innovative research project which is due to start in the autumn of 2010, and will help to find a cure or treatment for myotubular and centronuclear myopathy.

The characteristic feature of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy is the abnormal presence of the nucleus in the centre of the muscle cell instead of at the edge. What causes this centralisation of the nucleus or its relationship with the absence of myotubularin is not understood and it is this question which Dr D’Alessandro’s research will address. She will be investigating how the different genes already implicated in centronuclear and myotubular myopathy interact with each other to instruct the muscle cell on where to position the nucleus. She will also investigate other genes known to be involved in the process of nuclear positioning and see how they act together too. If this ‘molecular pathway’ of genetic instructions, and exactly how this pathway causes centralisation of the muscle cell nucleus, could be better understood, it is likely to shed valuable light on the condition and possible future treatments. Dr D’Alessandro also hopes to identify new genes involved in positioning the nucleus and such genes may be appropriate as novel therapeutic targets to treat the symptoms of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy.

View the full lay report on this latest research grant by Dr Manuela D’Alessandro.