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Outcomes of our 2021 grant round

30 March 2022

We’re delighted to announce the outcomes of our grant round from 2021. There are some very exciting funded projects that cover a broad range of conditions and stages of research, from biological understanding of conditions through to clinical studies.

Despite working to a different timetable from previous years with the applications arriving in early June and final decisions being made in the winter, we have funded nine innovative projects covering a range of topics.

To help manage the long-term financial impact of the pandemic, we limited the scope of the call for our grant round. So, we asked researchers for proposals of up to 12 months’ duration, in Becker muscular dystrophy, collagen VI-related disorders, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), myotonic dystrophy and congenital myotonic dystrophy. 

We’re also delighted to let you know we’re continuing our SMA PhD Partnership with Spinal Muscular Atrophy UK to support one four-year PhD studentship in SMA research. And we’re very pleased to announce that we’ve awarded this four-year PhD studentship in SMA research to Dr Lyndsay Murray of the University of Edinburgh. Dr Murray will be studying an interesting biological mechanism seen in SMA. You can find out more about the project here

Dr Kate Adcock, MDUK’s Director of Research and Innovation, said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with SMA UK to fund the study at the University of Edinburgh. Not only will we be funding an excellent study, but we’ll be helping to support a new researcher begin their career in this exciting field.” 

Angela Smith-Morgan, CEO of SMA UK echoed this when she said “SMA UK are delighted to be working with MDUK to fund this important work.  It is an interesting area of research which will add to our understanding of muscle development in people living with SMA.” 

Following a rigorous selection process, we awarded grants to nine applicants, with a total award value of £639,185. This brings MDUK’s research grant commitment to 33 projects, with a total award value of £6.2million.

The funded projects cover a broad range of conditions and stages of research, from biological understanding of conditions through to clinical studies. We’re supporting researchers from across the UK, some of whom are relatively new to the field of muscle-wasting conditions. These are the grants we awarded in the 2021 round: 

The importance of collagen VI genes in muscle stem cell function

What drives motor unit enlargement in people with SMA?

Investigating a novel method of increasing dystrophin production

A study of balance in people with type-1 myotonic dystrophy

Are proteins managed differently in people with FSHD?

A natural history study of people with congenital myotonic dystrophy

Using brain imaging to study myotonic dystrophy

Internal body clocks (circadian clocks) in the pathology of congenital muscular dystrophy

Studying the importance of metabolic stress in FSHD

You can find details of these studies and others we fund here 

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