Two MIT scientists’ research on a genetic disease that directly affects their lives is the subject of an award-winning video publicized recently in a blog written by Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
Growing up, Eric Wang watched his father suffer from myotonic dystrophy (DM), the most common form of muscular dystrophy in adults. “Friends would ask me, ‘Why is your dad, like, mad? Why doesn’t he ever smile?’ and it was because his face muscles were weak,” the research scientist at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research recalls in the video, When Research is Personal: Conquering Genetic Disease in the Eric T. Wang Lab.
Among his colleagues: Ona McConnell, a technical assistant who began to show symptoms of DM, which include fatigue and muscle weakness, as a freshman at Yale. “After college I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than do research on my own disease,” she says in the video, so she joined Wang’s lab.
Wang is hopeful that the research will ultimately make life better for people with DM. “I think that as long as we put in the time and the energy and [the research], and we get the right people around the table, that vision that I have for the future is going to happen,” he says.
When Research is Personal was one of five winners of the popular vote for the NIH Common Fund Video Competition, a contest open to scientists supported by grants from the NIH Roadmap or the NIH Common Fund.