Robert Burgess awarded federal grant for neurological disorder research

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has awarded a $612,500 continuation of a grant to Jackson Laboratory (JAX) Professor Robert Burgess, Ph.D., for his work in understanding the genetic basis for a neurological disorder known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease.

CMT is a genetic neurological disorder that causes damage to the peripheral nerves, the bundles of nerve cell fibers that connect the brain and spinal cord to muscles and sensory organs. There are several different types of the disease; Burgess studies CMT2, which is characterized by muscle weakness, loss or changes in sensation in extremities and restless leg syndrome.

Burgess focuses on a gene known as GARS (for glycyl tRNA synthetase). Dominant mutations in the gene cause peripheral axon degeneration in CMT, but the reason for this degeneration remains unclear..

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn. It employs 1,700 staff, and its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.

NINDS grant number 2R56NS054154-10