Dr. Rachel Harding is the recipient of the 2024 Nancy S. Wexler Young Investigator Prize

The Structural Genomics Consortium at the University of Toronto is thrilled to announce that Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator, Dr. Rachel Harding, has been honored with the Hereditary Disease Foundation’s (HDF) 2024 Nancy S. Wexler Young Investigator Prize. This award is given annually to an early-career researcher who demonstrates exceptional quality, innovation, and commitment in the field of hereditary disease research.

"We are immensely proud of Dr. Harding's achievements and her role in advancing the understanding of Huntington's disease," HDF shared. "Dr. Harding is one of the field’s leading up-and-coming structural biologists. Her dedication to collaborative science and her innovative approach to biological challenges are truly in the spirit of Nancy S. Wexler’s legacy."

Dr. Harding's work focuses on the huntingtin protein, which is central to Huntington's disease, a genetic neurodegenerative disorder. Her laboratory's efforts to elucidate the structure and function of this protein in both normal and disease states aim to uncover the disease's underlying mechanisms and explore potential therapeutic targets.

In addition to this recognition, Dr. Harding has been awarded a grant from the Hereditary Disease Foundation for her project, which enhances the capability to track proteins within cells precisely. This project will be focused on the interaction between the huntingtin protein and HAP40, a protein that has not been extensively studied. Using advanced techniques developed in her lab, Dr. Harding will investigate how these interactions vary in cells with and without the Huntington's disease gene and will explore the consequences of removing HAP40.

Her steadfast commitment to collaboration and her proactive willingness to share the proteins she produces with researchers worldwide are fundamental to her approach. "Embracing an open science philosophy is crucial for us to collectively advance in discovering new therapies for Huntington’s Disease," Dr. Harding emphasized.

The Structural Genomics Consortium congratulates Dr. Harding on this well-deserved recognition and looks forward to her continued contributions to the field of genetic research. 

Click here to view a message from Dr. Harding about receiving this award.

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