Benjamin Siddoway, PhD from the Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Sciences Center is the first recipient of the A-T Children’s Project’s Post Doctoral Fellowship Award for his grant entitled “Addressing neurological dysfunction in A-T: Investigation into novel, physiologic ATM activation in neurons and ATM-PP1 signaling in reorganization and refinement of post synaptic architecture.”

The A-T Children’s Project gives the A-T Post Doctoral Fellowship Award only to young post docs (PhDs) with one year experience or less since receiving their degrees. The award is intended to attract innovative and creative young minds to the field of A-T research, in hopes of spurring them to focus the rest of their careers on A-T.

After receiving his PhD in the fall of 2011, Dr. Siddoway decided to continue his examination of the role of ATM (the A-T protein) in brain cell communication. He has found preliminary evidence that ATM regulates the connections between brain cells (called synapses). Synapses are the means by which brain cells talk to one another, and they are altered and refined during development. With his A-TCP award, Dr. Siddoway plans to investigate this ATM-dependent synaptic regulation closer and to identify the other cellular proteins involved.

Dr. Siddoway and his laboratory head, Houhui (Hugh) Xia, PhD, hope that this new line of study will reveal potential drug targets for the earlier stage brain cell abnormalities associated with A-T, which may reduce neurodegeneration in later years.

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