Upcoming Webinar: Dr. Jon Pierce-Shimomura

A brightly lit room.  Ranks of sparkling glassware.  Computers churning out data.  Busy researchers bent over their work.  And lots and lots of…worms?

Crawling C. elegans

Crawling C. elegans
Photo by Bob Goldstein. [Source]

These tiny, translucent nematodes might not be the first thing you think of when you consider Down syndrome cognition research.  But you’ll find them in the laboratoryof UT-Austin’s Dr. Jon Pierce-Shimomura, whose work has been called “brilliant and revolutionary.”

Pierce-Shimomura, an associate professor of neurobiology and DSRTF grant recipient, is conducting promising research on Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease using C. elegans, which have a short life span — allowing fast results when assessing degenerative developments — and some critical biological similarities to humans.  He and his colleagues are focused on developing an innovative high-throughput screening system that will allow rapid evaluation of neurobiological mechanisms and behaviors.  With a large-scale working system in place, researchers will be able to chart the effects of drug therapies and identify potential new therapeutic targets quickly — a game-changing proposition for treating neurodegenerative diseases.

As the father of a child with Down syndrome — Ocean, age 10 — Pierce-Shimomura could feel a particular urgency for developing treatments to improve cognition and stave off dementia.  He’s actively involved in outreach, having worked with physicians to train them in counseling parents upon diagnosis, and has hopes of eventually employing adults with Down syndrome in his laboratory.  We are proud to have him join us in our ongoing series of webinars.

Jon Pierce-Shimomura

Jon Pierce-Shimomura
Photo by Marsha Miller. [Source]

Register now for his presentation, then join us on Tuesday, May 22 at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET to hear Dr. Pierce-Shimomura’s novel perspective on Down syndrome research.  (In case you’re squeamish, don’t worry: He’ll leave the worms in the lab.)

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