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Dr. Rickie Patani is the winner of the 10th prize Paulo Gontijo,

Published: 09/13/2018


Dr. Rickie Patani is the winner of the 10th prize Paulo Gontijo, presented by the Paulo Gontijo Institute  to scientists who made important discoveries about ALS in the last year.


Patani, who is also an associate professor at the Institute of Neurology at University College London and the Francis Crick Institute in the United Kingdom, took as a basis for his research the concept, already recognized by the scientific community, that changes in RNA - the molecule responsible for synthesis of proteins - may be related to the onset of ALS. From there, Patani reprogramed skin cells of an individual with ALS to generate neuronal cells and identify changes in motor neurons.
This is where unprecedented information emerges: interactions between RNA and a specific protein, known as SFPQ, represent a new marker to identify cases of familial and sporadic ALS.

Dr. Patani's laboratory also analyzed mouse transgenic models and human post-mortem tissue from sporadic ALS cases and proved the first results.

With the study, Dr. Patani reveal ways to evaluate new markers that cause ALS and helps the scientific community to think about new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of ALS.


The research of the winner of the 10th Paulo Gontijo Award also emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinarity and team science, integrating stem cell biology, developmental biology, neuropathology, bioinformatics and RNA biology.


"Promoting scientific research like that of Dr. Patani is the main mission of the Paulo Gontijo Award and the Paulo Gontijo Institute.

We want to emphasize the importance of investing in research, stimulating new researchers to develop studies that lead us, as soon as possible, to unravel the mysteries of ALS, making it possible to arrive at the discovery of more effective treatments for patients with the disease, "concludes Marcela Gontijo , president of the IPG.   

About the Prize

The Paulo Gontijo Award has been promoting, since 2007, scientific research related to the discovery of the cause and cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). As of 2011, the Award has been awarded annually and has the international partnership of the MND Association, the International Alliance of MND / ALS associations and the European Network for the Cure of ALS ENCALS ( ), in addition to the entire international scientific community.


The winning research author will receive $ 20,000 and a Gold Medal awarded at the opening of the 29th International ELA / DNM Symposium to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 7th. The Symposium is organized by the Motor Neuron Disease Association and the winner will present the winning work during the opening session of the event

IPG is proud of its previous year's award recipients who continue to participate in important scientifics studies impacting international research on the cause and cure of ALS. The PG Award is also a way of recognizing IPG's creator, Paulo Gontijo, who was affected by the disease and worked tirelessly searching for his cure.

The Paulo Gontijo Institute is a private, non-profit organization (OSCIP), which acts to promote research and scientific studies that contribute to increase the level of knowledge regarding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, its mission is to develop sensitization and humanization actions that contribute to the better care of professionals, patients and their families.

The physicist and engineer Paulo Gontijo was diagnosed as having ALS in 1999. Researcher, tirelessly sought the cause and cure of the disease and idealized the first molds of how the institution would be and what would be its contribution in favor of science.

The IPG was founded by bis children, in 2005, three years after his death







Credit: 'The Francis Crick institute | Dave Guttridge


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