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The Scripps Research Institute has appointed Srini Subramaniam, PhD, as an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience. Subramaniam, who investigates the signaling networks involved in neurodegenerative diseases, was a research associate in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University prior to joining Scripps Research.

“It’s a great honor to join the Scripps Florida faculty,” he said. “When I first visited, I was impressed with the science and the people—they were all highly focused, highly energized. Many are working on the same types of problems I am but taking different paths, so the possibility of collaboration is exceptional.”

Subramaniam, who led the Johns Hopkins research team, uncovered the cause of brain specific damage that occurs in Huntington’s disease, a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder that affects some 30,000 Americans. In Huntington’s disease the selective brain region called striatum is damaged and the cause for this selectivity was unknown. In 2009 article in the journal Science, Subramaniam and his colleagues pinpointed a protein known as Rhes that is prevalent in the striatum as responsible for striatal damage in Huntington’s disease; Huntington’s patients often suffer from uncontrollable movement and cognitive deficits due to degeneration of striatum. Subramaniam’s findings not only explained the cause for striatal damage in Huntington’s disease, but also its unique mechanism of action, and suggested a potential new therapeutic target.

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