NIH Awards $1.95 Million to Graduate Center Professor

November 8, 2019

Gholson Lyon, an adjunct professor in the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative, is an expert on the genetic basis of rare diseases.

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Gholson Lyon, an adjunct professor affiliated with the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative — a program jointly administered by The Graduate Center’s Ph.D. programs in biology and psychology — has bold plans for the $1.95 million in funding that he recently received from the National Institutes of Health for his research on the genetic basis of rare diseases.

The grant from NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences provides scientists who have “demonstrated ability to make major contributions to medical science the freedom to embark on ambitious, creative, and/or longer-term research projects.”

The five-year grant was awarded to the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR), part of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, to support Lyon’s research. Lyon is both a psychiatrist and lab head of genomic medicine at IBR.

Lyon plans to expand his studies related to the discovery and genetic characterization of rare human diseases. Among the diseases he studies are those involving severe developmental delay and physical malformations, such as Ogden syndrome, which he discovered and named. The grant will enable him to further his efforts to conduct clinical studies for families with the rare NAA10-related syndrome and to undertake basic research studies at the molecular level. The research also has implications for other congenital disorders of this type.

The grant allows Lyon to work with students on mouse models that were created to study this rare syndrome. During his first year at IBR, he worked with two CUNY master’s students, one of whom is completing his degree in Gholson’s lab. Gholson says he intends to recruit a CUNY doctoral student to join the project in the future.