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Does Spinal Muscular Atrophy affect muscle stem cells? $140,000 grant to help researchers find out

April 19, 2016



Dr. Rashmi Kothary has been awarded $140,000 from Families of SMA Canada to study how Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, affects muscle stem cells. SMA is the number one genetic cause of death in infants and impacts 1 in 10,000 babies. Individuals with SMA have a genetic mutation which prevents their body from producing enough of a protein called SMN. The lack of this protein causes motor neurons to shrink and die, but little is known about how it affects other cells in the body. Dr. Kothary’s previous studies in cell culture have shown that low levels of SMN make it harder for muscle cells to form fibers, impacting muscle growth. His current study looks even further back to see if lack of this protein causes problems in muscle stem cells. The team will also study mouse models to see how the progression of the condition changes the ability of muscles to regenerate.

Co-investigator: Dr. Hong Liu

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For further information, please contact


Amelia Buchanan
Senior Communication Specialist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73687
Cell: 613-297-8315
ambuchanan@ohri.ca