Ellen Burns, Vice President
Khemissa reported in January on her work during the preceding few months. We are happy to report that two people have been hired to assist Khemissa in her work. Dr. Chenyan Wu is helping with several projects at the Day Lab and is being assisted by laboratory technician Lianchun Wu. They are working in Buffalo at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute to make use of the special robotics and other resources there.
Khemissa had already examined and excluded all the known genes in the area of Chromosome 9 that have been identified as containing the gene causing our family disease. Now she is working on identifying other (novel) genes that are in this region. To do this, she must use known artificial chromosomes and match them up, like pieces of a puzzle, to cover the area that is suspect. She has just completed this task! This is a big step forward.
The researchers can now estimate the size of the responsible region to be less than 2.5 million base pairs. Although that sounds like a big number, when we started this search, we were looking at 3 billion base pairs! Our region may contain as many as 80 genes.
Khemissa is prioritizing the search by identifying genes that are expressed in the sensory nerves. She is studying the pattern of tissue expression of the various genes in the region.
The work is progressing well, and we are anticipating that Khemissa will share additional exciting news at the reunion this year.