Projects Archive - Foundation for Prader-Willi Research | Resource Development

Under the guidance of our Scientific Advisory Board through a carefully managed grants process, FPWR selects research projects based on the collaborative input of researchers and parents, choosing projects that are both scientifically meritorious and highly relevant for individuals with PWS and their families.

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Genomewide identification of mRNA sites of 2’-O methylation targeted by SNORD116 snoRNAs

Funded Year: 2019

Funding Summary While we know the loss of SNORD116 (a gene that encodes many snoRNA molecules on Chromosome 15) leads to characteristics of PWS, we do not know how this exactly works. We need to understand how SNORD116 functions normally in order to understand why the loss of this region leads to PWS. It is likely that the snoRNAs in the SNORD116 false

Assessment of Epigenetic Driven Circadian Rhythm Defects in Neurons from Individuals with PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Dr. Reiter is analyzing neurons, made from stem cells from individuals with PWS.  He has noted disruptions in the circadian rhythm of these cells (day/night cycle) that may reflect sleep problems in PWS.  His work will identify how the circadian rhythms are disrupted in PWS cells, and pave the way for identifying new drugs to false

Identification of Critical Periods for the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Effects of Oxytocin

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This grant supports a new collaboration between two scientists with complimentary expertise. Drs. Sebastian Bouret and Francoise Muscatelli will work to define critical periods for oxytocin use in PWS models, and optimize this therapeutic approach. Mouse models will be used to define the critical period during which oxytocin might false

Understanding the Role of Microglia in the Prader-Willi Hypothalamus

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Dr. Kurrasch is studying whether inflammation in the brain, mediated by special immune cells called microglia, might contribute to hyperphagia and obesity in PWS. Using a mouse model of PWS, she will examine microglia activity and explore whether eliminating microglia improves energy regulation. Funding provided by FPWR – Canada.

Newborn Screening for Prader-Willi and Angelman Syndromes

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary Universal newborn screening for PWS will ensure that all babies with PWS are diagnosed at birth. Dr. Godler has developed a sensitive, accurate and cost-effective DNA test for detection of PWS and Angelman syndrome using the bloodspots (“heelprick”) obtained in all newborns.  In the study, FPWR is collaborating with with the false

Generation of Non-Human Primate Models of PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This project takes the first steps towards developing a primate (macaque) model of PWS. Animal models of PWS are currently limited and are not able to replicate some important aspects of PWS, such as intellectual disability, as well as behavioral and social impairments. These aspects of PWS may be more effectively studied in a false

Chronic Stress, Cognition, and Food Cue Reactivity in PWS. A Magnetoencephalography Study

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This study will combine advanced brain imaging technology with other assessments to examine how hormonal, cognitive, and psychological factors are interrelated in PWS. Results from this study will increase the understanding of how brain regions involved in food intake are related to appetite hormones, hair cortisol, and false

Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Blockade to Treat Hyperphagia, Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders in PWS

Funded Year: 2018

Funding Summary This grant supports the development of a new drug to tackle hunger and obesity with PWS. Inversago, a newly started, specialized biotech company, proposes that its CB1 blockers would treat a wider spectrum of symptoms than anything presently in development for PWS. The drug targets the endocannabinoid pathway, which is known to be false

Pig Models of Prader-Willi Syndrome for Pathophysiologic and Therapeutic Interventions

Funded Year: 2018

Overcoming the strong drive to overeat and obesity with negative impacts on life expectancy and life quality is of upmost and crucial importance for individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and their families. Despite advances in understanding the genetic causes of PWS and the establishment of different mouse models that mimic some clinical false

ComuFaces: The perception of communicative faces by infants with Prader-Willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2018

Neuropsychological studies have detailed several cognitive deficits in Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), among which the observation of altered social interactions, with notable difficulty in interpreting and responding to social information. The integration of the information from the face and the voice is important for our social communication as false

CRISPR-mediated 3D modeling, molecular dissection and epigenetic profiling of PWS

Funded Year: 2017

Deletions on chromosome 15 in the bands labeled 15q11.2-q13 on the chromosome inherited from a subject’s father cause Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The unique nature of this causative genetic event has been known for many years, but the precise manner in which it causes the developmental abnormalities of PWS is not completely understood since the false

Developing objective biomarkers of hyperphagia in children with PWS

Funded Year: 2017

Hyperphagia is one of the distinctive features of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), and when not carefully monitored or controlled, can be life threatening. It emerges in early childhood and remains a life-long challenge for individuals with PWS and their caregivers. To effectively manage and, in the future, treat hyperphagia, it is important to be false

Prevalence and aetiology of PWS low level mosaicism in UPD undetected by standard testing

Funded Year: 2017

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder found in ~1 in 15,000 to 20,000 births. PWS phenotype caused by the loss of function of several genes located on chromosome 15. These genes are usually ‘switched on’ on the chromosome 15 that is inherited from the father and ‘switched off’ on the chromosome 15 inherited from the false

Recapitulating obesity and hyperphagia in novel adult-onset mouse models of Snord116 deletion

Funded Year: 2016

Although it is well established that deletion of SNORD116 contributes to PWS in humans, mice missing Snord116 don’t display hyperphagia and obesity. This makes it very difficult to study the biology of SNORD116 and test anti-obesity drugs. In a major breakthrough, Dr. Yeo’s group has shown that if Snord116 is deleted in adult mice, a percentage of false

Understanding multiple hormone secretion deficits in Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2016

Numerous hormone levels are deficient in PWS. However, the underlying biology and how the altered hormone levels contribute to the characteristics of PWS is not well understood. Dr. Nicholls’ group has developed a novel cell culture model system to study how PWS genes regulate hormone production and release. This model system will advance our false

Methylation test validation for combined Prader-Willi and Fragile X syndrome newborn screening

Funded Year: 2015

ABSTRACT

Investigating neural development in an induced pluripotent stem cell model of Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2015

Recent technological developments have ushered in a new era for the medical research field based on our ability to generate stem cells (called induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSCs) out of adult patient cells, such as blood or skin fibroblasts. There are two important benefits of this technology relevant for research into Prader Willi Syndrome false

Gene Expression Analysis in PWS Subject Derived Dental Pulp Stem Cell Neurons

Funded Year: 2015

There are two goals to this study: 1) To identify differences among individuals with PWS and autism from those who have PWS without autism by analyzing gene expression and 2) To identify new patterns of gene expression which may help explain the PWS condition or how other very small molecules that do not make protein (non-coding RNAs) implicated false

The role of SNORD116 in Prader-Willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2014

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by a loss of genes normally expressed only from the paternal chromosome 15. About 70% of PWS cases arise from Type 1 and Type 2 deletions, which are about 5 million DNA base pairs in size. Genetic mapping data from unique patients harboring smaller deletions, “microdeletions”, in the PWS region implicate the false

Training task switching to decrease temper outbursts in people with PWS

Funded Year: 2014

Temper outbursts are commonly shown by people with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and can cause great problems for people with the syndrome, their family members and caregivers. One common reason for temper outbursts is that people with PWS find changes to routines or to plans very difficult. This difficulty with change is linked to impairment in a false

Comprehensive behavioral informatics approach to CNS function in PWS mouse models

Funded Year: 2014

The identification of genetic loci conferring susceptibility to Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) provides valuable opportunities for understanding its biological basis. A powerful approach for probing the roles of genes within the nervous system is to introduce them into mice. The resulting mouse models may be studied in depth to determine how genes false

Investing in Young Investigators

Funded Year: 2014

Ariana Garagozzo is not just a future scientist; she is also the sibling of a young man with Prader-Willi syndrome.  As an undergraduate student at Dickinson College, Ariana’s passion to find a cure for hyperphagia has clearly defined her path towards a medical career in PWS research!

The role of SNORD116 in Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by a loss of genes normally expressed only from the paternal chromosome 15. About 70% of PWS cases arise from Type 1 and Type 2 deletions, which are about 5 million DNA base pairs in size. Genetic mapping data from unique patients harboring smaller deletions, “microdeletions”, in the PWS region implicate the false

Establishment of an in vitro model of muscle cells derived from primary fibroblasts to study dysregulation of translational capacity in PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Previous results showed that our physical rehabilitation program could induce weight loss in a group of adult PWS patients, but failed to improve their muscular mass (Grolla et al.2010). The loss of muscle mass affects elderly, obese and PWS patients leading to frailty and impaired quality of life. It is becoming apparent, using animal models, false

Use of stem cell-derived neurons to identify the molecular basis of the PWS

Funded Year: 2013

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by a loss of expression of specific genes normally expressed only from paternal alleles on chromosome 15. PWS patients display common symptoms, which include feeding difficulties in infancy, loss of muscle tone, rapid weight gain after two years of age, extreme hunger and unrelenting appetite, obesity, and false

Generating a novel model of ghrelin-null Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2011

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a lack of muscle tone at birth, a failure to thrive in infancy, and mild learning disabilities.   On emerging from infancy, children with PWS show reduced skeletal growth and an insatiable appetite, which, when combined with an obsession with food, results in obesity.   false

A Prader-Willi syndrome mouse model with brain specific ablation of snoRNA clusters from the Snrpn to Ube3a region

Funded Year: 2011

Two lines of evidence are promoted this proposal. First, recently, smaller microdeletions in the region between the human SNRPN and UBE3A genes have been reported in several cases with features consistent with PWS, including childhood obesity, hyperphagia, and hypogonadism. Second, interestingly, recent studies of genomewide survey of imprinting false

A pig model of PWS: a breakthrough for obesity, clinical and therapeutic studies

Funded Year: 2011

Overcoming the severe drive to overeat and obesity that provides the greatest threat to life expectancy and life quality is of upmost and crucial importance for PWS individuals and families. Despite advances in understanding the genetic causes of PWS and the establishment of different mouse models that mimic some clinical components, the false

Mechanism of hyperphagia and therapeutic interventions in mouse models for Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2011

The overall goals of our research are to elucidate the pathophysiologic pathways that lead to the metabolic and behavioral changes in PWS, and to evaluate two types of treatments for persistent hunger and food seeking behavior. We have focused on the role of a special type of RNA, called Snord116 (formally PWCR1/HBII-85) small nucleolar RNA false

Derivation of live Prader-Willi syndrome neurons from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells

Funded Year: 2010

A better understanding of the causes of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and the discovery of potential therapies has been hampered by the unavailability of live tissues. In our laboratory (Marc Lalande), we have established induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to create models of human disease in a test tube/tissue culture dish. Skin cells false

Role of Kiss1 neurons in mediating ghrelin’s effect on reproduction and metabolism (year 1)

Funded Year: 2010

Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder characterized by impairment of a myriad of physiological systems including growth, development, metabolism and reproduction. Although the physiological deficits observed in individuals with PWS come to be well-recognized, the mechanisms and/or cause for the generation of these characteristics are false

An improved mouse model of Prader-Willi syndrome (year 2)

Funded Year: 2009

Infants with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) often suffer failure to thrive that gives way to obesity and excessive eating (hyperphagia) during early childhood. The syndrome is due to the absence of several genes on chromosome 15. Animal models can be used to investigate the etiology of the syndrome and to test potential therapies. Several mutations false

Role of PWCR1 snoRNAs in Prader-Willi Syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

The overall goals of our research are to elucidate the genetic and pathophysiologic pathways that lead to the metabolic and behavioral changes in PWS. We have focused on the role of a special type of RNA, called PWCR1/HBII85 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA), that was discovered in our laboratory. Studies of rare cases of PWS with smaller deletions and false

PWS mouse model with deleted snoRNA cluster

Funded Year: 2009

The overall goals of our research are to elucidate the genetic and pathophysiologic pathways that lead to the metabolic and behavioral changes in PWS. We believe that a detailed level of understanding is necessary to design rational interventions. Recently, our laboratory has focused on the role of a special type of RNA, called PWCR1/HBII-85 small false

An improved mouse model of Prader-Willi syndrome

Funded Year: 2009

Mammals have two copies of most genes, one copy having been inherited from each parent. While most genes are expressed equally from both parental copies, some genes are expressed from only one parent's copy. Genes involved in Prader-Willi syndrome are normally expressed exclusively from the chromosome inherited from the father, and PWS patients false

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