Jul 29, 2022

Melissa Misztal Wins MHSc in Medical Physiology Award

For Mentored Literature Review on Huntington's Disease

Photo of MHSc in Medical Physiology award winner Melissa Misztal
Melissa Misztal

Each year, the Department of Physiology issues the MHSc in Medical Physiology Award to honour the accomplishments of one student in the program who has achieved excellence not only in PSL4010Y (Mentored Literature Review in Physiology) but also across their entire MHSc program (excluding the practicum). The award supports the costs of publishing their mentored literature review in an appropriate journal.   

This year, the committee honours Melissa Misztal, whose Mentored Literature Review on Huntington's disease, written under the guidance of Dr. Zhong-Ping Feng, made a particular impact. 

"Huntington’s disease (HD) is a rare, neurodegenerative disorder with a broad spectrum of manifestations that vary with disease progression," Misztal explained. "Although genetic testing can readily confirm the initial diagnosis of HD, markers sensitive to disease progression are lacking.

"For this reason, Dr. Feng and I conducted a meta-analysis that not only identified Interleukin-6 (IL-6) - an immune-response regulating protein - as a marker of HD severity and symptomatic progression, but also as a potential therapeutic target for HD. It is our hope that our insights can be applied clinically to identify specific patient populations that may benefit from targeted treatments to improve personalized therapies for HD.

"I am honoured to be receiving this award and owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Zhong-Ping Feng, Sarah Eide, Dr. Helen Miliotis (Program Director), Dr. Patricia Brubaker (PSL4010 Coordinator), and the Department of Physiology for their support and guidance throughout the program."

Congratulations Melissa, we look forward to sharing the published review one day soon.