Western’s Jeff Carroll Awarded New $800k Grant to Research Huntington’s Disease

  • Jeff Carroll; WWU photo by Rhys Logan

BELLINGHAM ­– Western Washington University Associate Professor of Psychology Jeff Carroll has secured an $806,805 grant to assist in his continuing research into the causes and potential treatments for Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic degenerative brain disorder.

The new grant is the fourth his lab has received this year, bringing the total grant funding to over $2.1 million. This newest grant is from the CHDI Foundation, a nonprofit science management and biomedical research organization researching drug therapies to slow the progress of Huntington’s.

“These funds will allow my lab to continue its work understanding the consequences of reducing, or even eliminating, expression of the HD gene – the gene mutated in every case of Huntington’s Disease. Because every HD patient shares a single mutant gene, a number of groups around the world are interested in reducing levels of this gene in HD patients. The recently funded work in my lab will explore the risks of such a strategy, as well as potentially revealing novel aspects of the normal roles for the HD gene, which are currently poorly understood,” said Carroll.

Carroll has a unique interest in Huntington’s, as the disease is genetic and in 2003, not long after leaving the Army, he tested positive for the gene that causes Huntington’s – which means he is guaranteed to get it himself.

Shortly thereafter, he began an academic odyssey that would eventually take him to the University of British Columbia for his undergraduate degree and his doctorate and Harvard Medical school for his postdoctoral fellowship, focusing all his research along the way on the disease that in all likelihood one day will claim his life unless a cure can be found. He has been at Western since 2011.

“I hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” he said. “I act like it’s going to kill me, but I hope and believe that it won’t.”

For more information on the grants or Carroll’s research into Huntington’s disease, contact him at (360) 650-2928 or jeff.carroll@wwu.edu.

Western Washington University Assistant Professor of Psychology Jeff Carroll at (360) 650-2928 or jeff.carroll@wwu.edu.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 10:33am