UCLA Professor wins Lotus Award for Outstaning Contribution to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Education, Research and Awareness

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A Newport Beach based charity committed to raising awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy and funding for research, has awarded University of California, Los Angeles Professor Rachelle Crosbie-Watson with its 2014 Lotus Award for her outstanding contribution to Duchenne muscular dystrophy education, research and awareness.

Coalition Duchenne, a Newport Beach based charity committed to raising awareness about Duchenne muscular dystrophy and funding for research, has awarded University of California, Los Angeles Professor Rachelle Crosbie-Watson with its 2014 Lotus Award for her outstanding contribution to Duchenne muscular dystrophy education, research and awareness. The award included a $10,000 grant payable to the Center for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at UCLA for Dr. Crosbie-Watson’s education initiatives. The award ceremony was part of the Coalition Duchenne Annual Gala held at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Tustin California on November 14th, 2014.

Dr. Crosbie-Watson completed her Ph.D. research in the Reisler lab in the Department of Biochemistry at UCLA. She was awarded the Robert Sampson Fellowship by the Muscular Dystrophy Association to continue her research at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. She investigated the muscle proteins associated with dystrophin, the problem gene in Duchenne, and she isolated and named the protein 'sarcospan'.

Dr. Crosbie-Watson is currently a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at UCLA with a joint appointment in the Department of Neurology. Last year she won the “UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award." She created an undergraduate course, Molecular Mechanisms and Therapies for Muscular Dystrophy, which has inspired students and is being adopted at other institutions in California and across the country. She serves as the Education Liaison for the Center of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Her Crosbie lab at UCLA is focused on understanding the function of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex which is so important to the understanding of Duchenne.

“We are excited to give this award to Rachelle. She is an exceptional educator who has made a significant contribution to the world of Duchenne,” said Catherine Jayasuriya, founder and executive director of Coalition Duchenne.

About Coalition Duchenne
Coalition Duchenne was founded in 2011 to raise global awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, to fund research and to find a cure for Duchenne. Coalition Duchenne is a US 501c3 non-profit corporation. Its vision is to change the outcome for boys and young men with Duchenne, to rapidly move forward to a new reality of longer, fulfilled lives by funding the best opportunities for research and creating awareness.

Coalition Duchenne has several research initiatives that are making advances in potential cardiac and pulmonary treatments for sufferers of Duchenne and other muscle weakening conditions and recently funded a $150,000 grant for a team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California led by Eduardo Marbán MD, PhD to do a Preclinical Study Using Cardiac-Derived Stem Cells in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

For more information about Coalition Duchenne, visit http://www.coalitionduchenne.org.

About Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive muscle wasting disease. It is the most common fatal genetic disease that affects children. Duchenne occurs in 1 in 3,500 male births, across all races, cultures and countries. Duchenne is caused by a defect in the gene that codes for the protein dystrophin. This is a vital protein that helps connect the muscle fiber to the cell membranes. Without dystrophin the muscle cells become unstable, are weakened and lose their functionality. Life expectancy ranges from the mid teenage years to the 30’s.

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Catherine Jayasuriya