The Nancy S. Wexler Young Investigator Prize is awarded annually to a young researcher whose work reflects the highest caliber of excellence, diligence, and creative thinking. The 2022 recipient was Dr. Natalia Barbosa (Stanford University) who received the award for her work focused on understanding how the formation of protein clumps in Huntington’s disease may contribute to breakdown of brain cells. She was joined by her mentor, Dr. Judith Frydman
The Hereditary Disease Foundation Research Spotlight Webinar series features brilliant scientists working to identify treatments and cures for Huntington’s disease and other brain disorders.
About the Speakers
Judith Frydman, PhD
Donald Kennedy Chair in Humanities and Sciences Professor, Departments of Biology and Genetics
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
National Academy of Science
Dr. Judith Frydman grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. She carried out her postdoctoral training at the Sloan Kettering Institute in New York.
Dr. Frydman’s research focuses on understanding how proteins fold in cells. The Frydman lab uses a multidisciplinary approach to address fundamental questions about molecular chaperones (proteins that aid in folding), protein folding and degradation. In addition to basic mechanistic principles, she and her team aim to define how impairment of protein folding and quality control are linked to disease, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease. She examines whether reengineering chaperone networks can provide therapeutic strategies.
Natalia Barbosa, PhD
Mentor: Judith Frydman, PhD
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
2022 Nancy S. Wexler Young Investigator Prize Recipient
Dr. Natalia Barbosa focuses her research on uncovering the intricate relationship between the creation of proteins, how they’re processed in the cell, and the effects those processes have on the cell’s powerhouse – the mitochondria. During her postdoctoral work at Stanford University under the guidance of Dr. Judith Frydman, she made advancements into how these factors may relate to defects in Huntington’s disease. With a combination of her expertise on mitochondrial function and the Frydman lab’s study of the stability of proteins, she studies the link between protein stability and mitochondrial failure in HD.
Webinar Sponsor: Neurocrine and uniQure