Van Damme-beurs voor strijd tegen spierziekte

Van Damme grant for battle against muscular dystrophy

13 November 2013

Last week Erica Coenen, who received her PhD at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at TU/e last year, was awarded the Marina van Damme Grant 2013. The nine-thousand-euro grant will be used for learning about how to set up an international organization for people who suffer from dysferlin, a type of muscular dystrophy. Coenen has a muscular disease herself.

Muscle diseases related to dysferlin are caused by a defect in the gene that’s responsible for the generation of dysferlin, a protein that plays a part in skeletal muscle repair. One type of dysferlin, miyoshi myopathy, is usually diagnosed when patients are in their late teens. Eventually, patients will need a walker or wheelchair.
Since the disease is considerably rare – in the Netherlands, less than twenty are known to suffer from miyoshi myopathy – Coenen feels it’s vital to bring together people from several countries and found an international organization. To prepare for leading the NPO, she’ll be using the Marina van Damme Grant for taking two courses on entrepreneurship, and attending a dysferlin conference in the US.

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