We are lucky to belong to a strong and cohesive PWS community that achieves great things! While a large part of our community is built on the determination and strength of families and friends of those with PWS, we would like to highlight one individual who has no familial connection to PWS, yet has chosen to become such an essential part of our PWS family. Rachel Wevrick lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband, Joe Casey, and their two children. She and her husband are both professors at b’University of Alberta. But why is she so important to our community?
Dr. Wevrick became involved with PWS in 1993. After she completed her Ph.D. at University of Toronto and her Postdoctoral Fellowship at Hospital for Sick Children, Dr. Wevrick went to California to work with Dr. Uta Francke at Stanford University to perform research on human genetics. Dr. Francke was researching a number of genetic disorders, but one stood out among the rest because of the lack of information: Prader-Willi Syndrome. For the next three years, Dr. Wevrick made PWS her focus. Then in 1996, it was time for Rachel and her husband to make a move back North, but this time to Edmonton, Alberta where they took on their positions at University of Alberta. Dr. Wevrick continued to conduct her research on PWS after moving to Edmonton and has been funded by FPWR on three separate projects. The most recent project being funded by FPWR is her study of Leptin dysregulation in control mice and mice lacking the gene Magel2. This study can potentially find a treatment that can regulate hunger by helping their bodies regulate Leptin. More information about this exciting project can be found on the FPWR website. https://www.fpwr.org/grant/2012/development-leptindysregulation-mouse-model-obesity-pws
Dr. Wevrick has presented at numerous conferences to speak about her animal models. She has been reviewing grants for FPWR and PWSA for the last 10-15 years. When asked why she does this, she answered, “I enjoy doing it–it helps me write better proposals, I can learn who is doing what, and I can provide expertise to make sure funding dollars are spent on projects with high likelihood of success and that answer questions that are important for further understanding PWS.”
Dr. Wevrick will be working with Theresa Strong to lead the research portion of the IPWSO conference in 2016. Their goal is to make it an interactive workshop, where they don’t just discuss what they have already done, but propose a strategic plan for future research to be done. She is extremely excited to be involved in this.