24 Feb 2023

Congratulations to rising star awarded inaugural grant

Dr Muhammad Shahid Javaid
Dr Muhammad Shahid Javaid, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Neuroscience at the Central Clinical School is one of two successful grantees in the inaugural Homer Hack Small Research grants

“I’m delighted that my seed grant project was successful. It will be a great opportunity to explore pathological pathways involving the Homer1 mutation and to find a potential compound by in vitro drug screening to develop precision medicine treatment for people living with Homer1-mutated nervous system conditions,” said Dr Javaid.

Dr Javaid's project titled, "Drug screening using Homer1 patient’s iPSCs-derived neurons for clinical trials of precision medicine" will develop effective treatments for neurological conditions linked to the abnormal function of the HOMER1 gene variant. He will do this in collaboration with Professor Lisa Foa at The University of Tasmania where they have already grown neuronal cells from the induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) of an index patient with a Homer1 mutation. 

The discovery of new effective medicines requires pathophysiological-matched disease models, ideally those based on affected individuals. Patient-specific stem cell-derived in vitro neuronal models can adequately recapitulate the pathophysiological and pharmaco-responsive properties of the ‘Homer-brain’. 

Drugs that are found to restore normal function in these patient-derived neuronal models will also be used as targeted precision medicines to treat other neuronal complications associated with Homer variants. The proposed outcomes will reveal the drug targets that can not only be targeted to restore normal neuronal function in Homer1 patients but may also be used to treat other neurological diseases involving anomalous calcium signalling and mutant scaffolding proteins.

Head of Department Professor Helmut Butzkueven said, “It is really great news to hear that Dr Javaid has received a small research grant. Having only received his PhD conferral in August last year, this is a wonderful opportunity to help his research career thrive. His hard work and determination will no doubt facilitate successful outcomes for this project and for people living with a Homer-1 mutation.”

The Homer Hack aims to transform the lives of people living with Homer gene variants, and their families, by enabling innovative and high quality research to build evidence of the impacts of, and therapeutic interventions for, Homer gene variants. 

For more information about the Homer Hack and Homer protein functioning in the nervous system visit - https://www.thehomerhack.com/

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