Research Fellow Feature: Benjamin M. Kidd

Published on Thu, 03/18/2021

Benjamin M. Kidd
University of Florida, Florida, US

MDF is proud to announce Benjamin M. Kidd as one of MDF UK’s 2021 Research Fellowship Recipients! DM affects many different tissues throughout the body resulting in muscle wasting, gastro-intestinal problems, sleeping issues, and wide-spread reduction of brain volume. While research studies have focused on disease mechanisms involved in skeletal muscle wasting in this disease, our understanding of the molecular events that lead to this brain loss, or cerebral atrophy, and associated neurological symptoms remain unclear. To address this critical issue, the project “Brain Choroid Plexus Dysregulation and Cerebral Atrophy in DM1” will use several mouse genetic models of DM1 to test the hypothesis that the DM1 mutation has its most profound deleterious effects on a specific cell type in the brain, choroid plexus epithelial cells, which produce the cerebrospinal fluid vital for brain health. Importantly, these cells function in the transport of nutrients into, and the clearance of potentially toxic by-products from, the brain. The goal of the project is to identify novel and accessible cell targets and pathways for effective myotonic dystrophy therapies.

Kidd is a third-year predoctoral student in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Florida and a trainee in Dr. Maurice Swanson’s lab at the University of Florida Center for NeuroGenetics. His research is focused on mouse models of myotonic dystrophy type 1 that are designed to reveal novel pathomechanisms underlying this disease and provide effective in vivo platforms for testing current and future therapies. Prior to starting his graduate studies, he was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, where he was actively involved in research in the lab of Dr. James Lauderdale. There he sought to better understand the molecular basis underlying seizure excitation across the CNS, and worked with a zebrafish genetic model of epilepsy by using simultaneous whole brain calcium imaging and extracellular electrophysiology. Now in Dr. Maurice Swanson's Lab at the University of Florida, Kidd has become acquainted with multiple areas of neuroscience and neurogenetics research, including ion homeostasis, RNA and protein-mediated pathologies, and cellular and molecular neuroscience. He has also collaborated with multiple PIs across the University of Florida and formed scientific relationships with members of the McKnight Brain Institute, the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, and the Center for NeuroGenetics. His overarching career goal is to study how disruptions in neurogenesis lead to disease, as well as investigating methods to enhance neurogenesis with an emphasis on myotonic dystrophy.

Click here to read more about previous Fellowship Recipients.


Published on March 18th, 2021.