We are delighted to announce that Dr Arpan Mehta has been appointed as our latest Lady Edith Wolfson Fellow, jointly funded by the MND Association and Medical Research Council. This clinical research training fellowship will help to launch his career as an aspiring academic neurologist, providing comprehensive training in cellular, molecular and bioinformatics technologies in a world-class environment.
Arpan is a neurology registrar in Oxford, who is taking time out from his clinical training to undertake his PhD in Edinburgh. His project, supervised by Professors Siddharthan Chandran and Giles Hardingham at The University of Edinburgh, examines the most common known genetic mutation in motor neurone disease (MND), the C9orf72 mutation. Arpan will exploit the recent advances in patient-derived stem cell modelling and gene editing to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying MND.
Each motor neurone has both a cell body and neurites. The latter are specialised projections, the longest of which are called axons that make physical and electrical contact with neighbouring cells. Arpan’s project, focused on understanding the reasons behind changes to the axon in MND, is stimulated by encouraging data from animal models of MND, showing that targeting the axon leads to delayed onset of disease and prolonged survival. Patient-derived stem cell modelling provides an ideal platform for Arpan’s project.
Arpan said: “I am extremely grateful and honoured to have been awarded this generous fellowship, enabling me to undertake research using the latest technologies in such a vibrant regenerative neuroscience environment that is in Edinburgh.
“I look forward to sharing the details of my PhD journey with the MND Association community as time progresses!”
Arpan’s research in Edinburgh will benefit from the closely linked clinical and laboratory research networks of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, Euan MacDonald Centre for MND Research and the UK Dementia Research Institute at The University of Edinburgh.