Neurological Foundation Gillespie Postgraduate Scholarship


Ruth Monk
University of Auckland

Modelling Huntington’s Disease: Using direct cell reprogramming to study the mechanisms underlying a complex genetic neurodegenerative disorder

Creating a model of Huntington’s disease from patient skin cells to further understand the underlying mechanisms and cell death involved in this disorder

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a highly debilitating genetic neurodegenerative disorder which is characterised by the progressive loss of specific brain cells. What drives this specific cell loss remains largely unknown, and consequently there is no treatment for this disease. Ms Monk’s project aims to generate a model of HD by reprogramming skin cells from patients into the specific brain cell type lost in this condition. This model will provide a novel platform for elucidating the complex mechanisms contributing to brain cell death, and will play an important role in the development of treatments for HD.