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Battling Batten Disease with Outstanding Research

July 31, 2018

Trent’s Dr. Robert Huber wins Discovery Award

Robert Huber alongside Graduate and Undergraduate students wearing their lab coats.
Dr. Robert Huber's lab consists of a combination of Graduate and Undergraduate students from Trent University.

Dr. Robert Huber, a professor in Trent University’s Biology department, has been awarded a $25,000 grant to enhance his groundbreaking research on Batten Disease – a rare but devastating neurological disorder which can affect all ages and ethnicities. 

Winner of the prestigious Banting Research Foundation Discovery Award, Professor Huber’s application was ranked #1 out of 47 applications submitted from across Canada. This one-year grant provides funding to outstanding new investigators in Canada to carry out innovative research projects in the health and biomedical areas.

Research that makes a major difference

Prof. Huber’s research studies the underlying causes of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis —also known as Batten disease. It is the most common form of neurodegeneration in children, and certain regions of Canada have an especially high incidence rate (i.e. Newfoundland). 

“The generous funding provided by the Banting Research Foundation will allow my lab to explore new avenues of research into the mechanisms underlying Batten disease,” says Prof. Huber.

His hope is that his research “will make a positive contribution to our understanding of Batten disease, ultimately allowing us to design effective therapies for patients.” 

Recent genetic advances show similarities between NCL and other neurological diseases like Parkinson’s. This means that Prof. Huber’s research may be able to increase our knowledge of the underlying causes of those diseases, and thereby provide possible new avenues of treatment.

Prof. Huber arrived at Trent in July 2016, and since then his research group has already made significant contributions toward finding the underlying causes of Batten disease. “I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside some amazing students here at Trent,” he says.

Learn more about Biology at Trent and other faculty members making a difference through research.