Lafora Disease (LD) is a severe form of myoclonic epilepsy, characterized by early-adolescence onset and significant neurodegeneration that progress to dementia and ataxia, leading to death within 10 years. Mutations in two genes, EPM2A and the NHLRC1 have been identified to be responsible for this disease. Recently, it has been shown an increase of inflammatory mediators along with the LD progression, suggesting a pathogenic role of inflammation in LD. Zebrafish is a valuable model for genetic manipulations and a suitable alternative to assess the effects of anti-inflammatory compounds on seizure suppression. The generation of epm2a loss-of-function mutations in zebrafish using CRISPR/Cas9 represents an efficient means to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying LD and to explore therapeutic strategies towards phenotype-specific interventions in LD, as drug screening studies. Therefore, the main aim of this project is to have a hands-on training in genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 system in zebrafish in order to create a model of LD. For this purpose, the internship will be take place in the laboratory of Dr. Shawn Burgess at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD. Dr. Burgess is a distinguished researcher focused on gene knockout technologies in zebrafish, including extensive experience using the CRISPR-Cas9 system.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: