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Boston Globe columnist describes PhD candidate Zachary Kennedy’s personal connection to ALS research

UMass Medical School Communications

agosto 20, 2019

Zachary Kennedy, PhD candidate in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, is deeply committed to advancing research toward a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, after losing his grandfather and an uncle to the disease. Kennedy’s work is highlighted in the Aug. 19 Boston Globe, in a column by Tom Farragher.

“Zack is certainly studying to save his family,’’ said Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research, professor of neurology and director of the Program in Neurotherapeutics. Dr. Brown and Wen Xue, PhD, assistant professor of RNA therapeutics, are co-mentoring Kennedy. “It’s unusual to have a student so focused on a problem which is so immediately relevant to his own family. But, of course, what Zack does will have much broader implications than just for his own family, which makes it even more wonderful.’’

Richard P. Kennedy, president of The Angel Fund for ALS Research, who is, himself, living with ALS and who received an honorary degree at UMass Medical School’s Commencement last spring for his work to fund a cure, is Zack Kennedy’s uncle.

“It keeps you motivated,’’ Zack Kennedy told Farragher, after recently defending his doctoral dissertation in front of a panel of faculty, students, family and friends. “It keeps you focused. You wake up every day and you feel lucky to do the job you do. That’s a blessing.’’

Read the full Globe column at: