Cure SMA Awards $150,000 Grant to Melissa Bowerman, PhD, at Keele University

Each year, Cure SMA invites scientists from around the world to submit funding proposals for basic research projects that address specific unanswered questions in SMA biology. Our Scientific Advisory Board then ranks the submitted proposals on both their scientific merit and relevance to Cure SMA’s research priorities. Funding is awarded to the highest ranked projects.

In 2023, Cure SMA awarded a total of $750,000 to six scientists to pursue our basic research priorities and objectives.

Melissa Bowerman, PhD, at Keele University was awarded $150,000 for her research project, “Defining the role of skeletal muscle in metabolic defects in SMA.”

Meet Dr. Bowerman

Dr. Bowerman is a Senior Lecturer in Neuromuscular & Skeletal Disorders at the Keele University School of Medicine in the United Kingdom. She first became involved in SMA research approximately 20 years ago as a postgraduate fellow.

Currently, researchers in Dr. Bowerman’s lab work on many projects aimed at better understanding the symptoms experienced by individuals living with SMA.

Infants and children with SMA lose muscle very quickly. Muscle loss can have negative effects on different organs and tissues in the body. In her project, Dr. Bowerman and her lab will study how muscle loss affects the rest of the body. To do so, they will use mouse models of SMA in which SMN is only missing in muscle. This will allow them to study how the muscle loss that occurs in SMA impacts the health and function of other organs and tissues.

Learning more about the role of muscle in SMA will help increase our understanding of how low levels of SMN cause the symptoms of SMA. It will also inform the development of future SMA treatments.

Thank You!

Special thanks to the Concepcion Family, Nunemaker Family, Weisman Family, Luke 18:1 Foundation and Dhont Foundation for their generosity to Cure SMA in our quest to invest in basic research that will ultimately drive the next generation of SMA treatments.

Melissa Bowerman, PhD, at Keele University
Melissa Bowerman, PhD, at Keele University

Cure SMA’s top basic research priorities currently include:


  • Learning more about when and where the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein is needed and how it functions in the body.
  • Finding new ways to treat SMA, especially those that can be used in combination with approved drugs.
  • Using cellular or animal models to better understand the SMA disease process.
  • Developing new tools for SMA research, such as new SMA animal models and new ways of tracking disease progression.

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