Zac Dewald
Advisor: Auinash Kalsotra
Cohort: 2018
Degree: PhD 2024

RNA-dominant diseases are a class of degenerative diseases affecting neurological, muscular and cardiovascular function and include notorious disorders such as myotonic dystrophy, fragile X syndrome and spinocerebellar ataxia. Currently, there are no cures for RNA-dominant diseases, due in part to a lack of understanding of the mechanisms that drive these diseases as well as gaps in the therapeutic development pipeline. My research focuses on developing unique, conditionally active animal models which I can then use to study the mechanisms driving the RNA-dominant diseases in a highly controlled manner and help accelerate the drug development process. My work currently focuses on the disease Myotonic Dystrophy type one, but these models can be adapted to aid research in a wide range of diseases.