July 25, 2018


Lynn George


MSU Billings professor awarded research grant

Dr. Lynn George awarded NIH grant for familial dysautonomia research



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES —Dr. Lynn George, adjunct assistant professor of molecular biology at Montana State University Billings, was recently awarded her second National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant in the division of the Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


The grant, totaling $395,533, will fund George’s research on familial dysautonomia (FD), a devastating childhood neurological disease that gradually destroys the peripheral nervous system.  FD patients experience malfunctions of the respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems, and typically die as young adults.  


Work in the George lab is demonstrating that many FD symptoms result from an inability to interpret an aspect of the genetic code called “codon bias.” Although the existence of codon bias has been recognized in the scientific community for some time, George and her students are pioneering an effort to connect codon bias to neurological disease. Research in the George lab is identifying novel cellular and molecular pathways that are perturbed in FD and that may prove effective as therapeutic targets not only for FD, but also for other related neurological diseases including autism spectrum disorder and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).


Dr. George’s work was recently published in Nature Communications.


Only 13 percent of grant proposals to the Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke are awarded funding annually. George was previously awarded a three-year, $332,000 R15 grant from NIH in 2015.


For more information, contact Dr. Lynn George at lynn.george@msubillings.edu or at 657-2016.