Iowa State University PhD student, Hannah Spaulding, is making a difference with research in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Under the direction of Dr. Josh Selsby, she is studying the disease along with possible therapies to slow down the progression of the disease. Although advancements towards a cure have been made, there is still no cure for the disease and the process to find a cure could take many years due to government and FDA requirements. Knowing this, Hannah decided to focus on the development of therapies that can be released now and utilized faster. She studies autophagy which is a way for cells to remove dysfunctional cellular components and is also present in patients with Duchenne. She states “This is a disease that kills people every day and if I can develop a treatment to increase a patient’s standard of living then I have accomplished something great.”
Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy disease affects young boys and is due to a mutation of the dystrophin gene on the X chromosome. Boys are typically diagnosed at age 3 or 4 and have a life expectancy of around 25 years of age. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a terminal disease.
Hannah was born and raised in Savage, MN and hopes to graduate in 3 years. Before Iowa State University, she attended Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN.