24 Oct 2018

HudsonAlpha scientist awarded $45,000 grant to study causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Huntsville, Ala. – HudsonAlpha Faculty Investigator Liz Worthey, PhD, will study the causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with help from a $45,000 pilot grant from the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI) Ramsay Award Program.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) affects millions of people, and many of them struggle with day-to-day tasks because of the illness, which causes debilitating fatigue, pain, immune, neurologic and sleep problems amongst other symptoms. The Institute of Medicine estimates between 836,000 to 2.5M people in the U.S. are affected by ME/CFS. Most of them are women; 90 percent of them remain undiagnosed.

This next wave of research will be carried out by Worthey and Camille Birch, PhD, from the Worthey Lab, working with Jarred Younger, PhD, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) who will provide both patient samples and detailed information on how the disease shows up in those patients.

“We believe we can make real progress by making use of a comprehensive whole genome sequencing approach with the application of our existing informatics tools, methods and expertise,” said Worthey. “Our focus is on research that will help existing patients, and we want that progress to usher in new solutions for these patients who have been marginalised and ignored for far too long.”

The cause of ME/CFS remains poorly understood. Patients show a variety of symptoms involving multiple systems, leading some researchers to believe the cause of the illness is itself extremely complex. However, many of the affected systems are related to immune or metabolic function, which are linked. This leads to the possibility that a single underlying system is responsible, while the varying symptoms stem from the differences in the genetic causes that trigger the disease.

If researchers can better understand the disease and identify genetic underpinnings of ME/CFS found in these participants, it could lead to new therapies and quicker, more efficient diagnoses for patients.

About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and includes more than 30 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit hudsonalpha.org.

HudsonAlpha Media Contact:
Margetta Thomas