Dr. Lee

Foundation for the NIH Lurie Prize

February 16, 2016

Today Dr. Jeannie Lee from the Massachusetts General Hospital was awarded the fourth annual Lurie Prize from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). This prestigious award recognizes outstanding achievement by a promising young scientist in biomedical research. The Prize amount is $100,000, to be used as the awardee chooses. It is made possible by a generous gift from FNIH board member Ann Lurie.

Dr. Jeannie Lee was a previous grantee of Rettsyndrome.org, receiving a 2013 HeART award for the project “Treating Rett syndrome via selective reactivation of the silenced MECP2 allele”.

This project is focused on addressing the basic cause of Rett syndrome in girls, the loss of MECP2 gene function in roughly half of the brain cells.  By designing oligonucleotide drugs that target the inactive X chromosome (Xi) in Rett syndrome, their hope is to circumvent the effects where the mutant MeCP2 is being expressed.

Dr. Lee’s RNA targeting strategy is to reawaken epigenetically silenced genes by disrupting binding and reawaking the repressed normal MeCP2.  The Lee laboratory has specialized in the study of X Chromosome Inactivation(XCI) for many years. From their discoveries, they hypothesize that it should be possible to selectively reawaken the silenced Mecp2 allele, without reactivating most or all of the Xi.

We at Rettsyndrome.org congratulate Dr. Lee for receiving this prize today.  She is an outstanding scientist who has made incredible achievements in the field of epigenetics, and we thank her for moving her basic discoveries to potential treatments for Rett syndrome.

Read the full press release from FNIH.