DMM Travelling Fellowships bring researchers with unique perspectives together to tackle challenging disease-related issues. These fellowships provide students, post-docs or clinical fellows with up to £2500 (or local currency equivalent) towards travel expenses to establish collaborations with a laboratory outside of their home institution. These collaborations should expand the breadth of the applicant’s research into new areas and promote the understanding of disease processes or treatment through the use of model organisms.

Neuroprotective agents released in breast-feeding mothers

The best cure for neurological disease might be prevention. Very few therapies effectively treat neurological disorders, such as stroke, epilepsy, neurotrauma and neurodegenerative disease. América Vanoye, a PhD student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, is investigating the neuroprotective effect that breast-feeding has on mothers. Her work focuses on the effects of steroid hormones on the hippocampus. She uses lactating rats as a natural model to understand neuroprotection, which could be conferred by different hormones such as oxytocin, a pituitary hormone that stimulates milk ejection. With this award, her work is expanding to include collaborators at the Neurosciences Institute at Barcelona Autonomous University in Spain.

New genes responsible for osmoregulation

Salt balance influences a variety of conditions, such as blood pressure, gastrointestinal processes and renal function. However, the proteins involved in the normal and disease physiology of osmoregulation remain largely unknown. Anne Sinke, is a PhD student at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands who works to understand the key regulators of osmoregulation in health and disease. His haplotype association mapping in mice identified a novel cation channel necessary for maintaining salt balance. This DMM fellowship makes it possible for Anne to extend his current mouse research through collaboration with members of the Jackson Laboratories in the USA. There, he will carry out metabolic experiments in transgenic mice and characterize this newly identified gene.