SRNA’s Pauline H. Siegel Eclipse Fund Awards a Grant to Dr. Monique Anderson

SRNA is excited to announce that Monique Anderson, MD, PhD has been awarded a research grant funded through the Pauline H. Siegel Eclipse Fund. Under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Levy at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Dr. Anderson will study the roles of the VPS37A gene and Tsg101 in transverse myelitis as critical components of exosomes, which are vesicles that facilitate intercellular communication by carrying protein, DNA, and RNA between cells. Through research conducted at MGH, a mutation of the gene VPS37A has been found to be linked to transverse myelitis. Tsg101 is a protein that interacts directly with VPS37A and is now considered a reliable biomarker of endosomes in the onset of transverse myelitis. Endosomes are intracellular vesicles that regulate the trafficking of proteins and lipids among other subcellular compartments of the secretory and endocytic pathway. The research study will investigate whether novel neuronal biomarkers within exosomes are found in the blood of patients with transverse myelitis. These biomarkers could potentially be used as a diagnostic tool to identify those with transverse myelitis. Additionally, the researchers hope to gain insight into the immunopathogenic signaling that triggers a peripheral immune response to a protein in the central nervous system.

Dr. Anderson received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. She attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine where she earned her PhD and her Medical Degree, and she completed her residency training in Neurology at Emory University School in 2022. Prior to beginning her residency, Dr. Anderson worked in the lab of Dr. Steven Jacobson at the NIH where she studied the role of regulatory T cells in HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). She was interested in both neurology and internal medicine, which led to her pursuit of a fellowship in neuroimmunology. During residency, she worked with and treated patients with MS, NMOSD, MOGAD, and other rare neuroimmune and neuroinfectious diseases. Dr. Anderson remarked, “Working with these patients has emphasized not only how much has been accomplished in terms of treatments, but also how much more still needs to be done. These advancements have been supported by clinical trials and basic science research at all levels, and my goal with fellowship will be to gain the training needed to properly evaluate patients with these disorders and to join in the efforts to seek better treatments.”

SRNA established the Eclipse Fund in memory of Pauline H. Siegel in 2017. The fund’s purpose is to support and accelerate SRNA’s research portfolio to fund discoveries that will directly impact the quality of life for the members of our community. The Pauline H. Siegel Eclipse Fund aims to drive critical research to restore function, identify genes and causation, improve diagnosis, and investigate novel therapies. You can read more about the fund here.