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AAN Foundation and The ALS Association Honor Philadelphia Researcher for ALS Research

CHICAGO – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Foundation and The ALS Association awarded the 2008 AAN Foundation/ALS Association Clinician-Scientist Development Fellowship to Alice Chen-Plotkin, MD, with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, for her work on a protein called TDP-43, which is seen in both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and a type of dementia called frontotemporal dementia. The two-year, $160,000 fellowship was formally presented during the American Academy of Neurology's 60th Annual Meeting in Chicago, held April 12–19, 2008. The AAN Foundation/ALS Association Clinician Scientist Development Fellowship is designed to encourage ALS clinical research with the goal of providing better treatment, prevention or cure for the disorder. The award is part of The Association’s TREAT ALS™ program. Chen-Plotkin’s grant proposed a study using genome-wide technology to study gene expression in ALS. Little is known about TDP-43, but previous studies suggest it may play a role in regulating the expression of genes. The research will describe the patterns of abnormal gene expression seen in the brains of people with ALS. “We expect these patterns to be particularly different in patients with ALS, because the abnormal TDP-43 seen in these diseases may cause improper expression in hundreds of other genes,” Chen-Plotkin said. “We hope that by understanding the genome-wide expression of genes in ALS and the contribution of TDP-43 to regulating this process, we can find early clues to the causes of disease. This, in turn, might lead to the development of effective therapies.” The fellowship includes tuition reimbursement for education in clinical research methodology. The American Academy of Neurology Foundation works with the American Academy of Neurology to support research for the prevention, treatment and cure of neurologic disorders.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. For more information, visit The mission of The ALS Association is to lead the fight to cure and treat ALS through global, cutting-edge research, and to empower people with Lou Gehrig’s disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support. For more information, visit

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