President's Report 2006 | today.mun.ca

Wesleyville boy makes donation for genetic research

One of the three cards Myles Burry designed.

Myles Burry, an 11-year old boy from Wesleyville, Bonavista Bay, will be in St. John's Friday with his parents to donate $700 for genetic research on pulmonary fibrosis at Memorial University. The cheque will be presented at 2:30 p.m. to Dr. Bridget Fernandez and Barbara Noble.

Dr. Fernandez is a faculty member in the Discipline of Genetics and director of the provincial medical genetics program. Ms. Noble is the research nurse co-ordinator of a study on familial pulmonary fibrosis.

Myles raised the money by selling Christmas cards he designed. He wanted to raise money for this research because his family is part of an ongoing study on familial pulmonary fibrosis. While Myles doesn't have the illness himself, his aunt does and an uncle in his family died of the disease.

Dr. Fernandez is doing leading edge genetic research on pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that is not strongly genetic in most populations. Working with a local team of respirologists, radiologists, pathologists and laboratory scientists, she has identified 14 Newfoundland families with the (familial) inherited type of pulmonary fibrosis. There are 316 people enrolled in the study and 48 individuals from the 14 families have the disease.

Dr. Fernandez' group is working to identify this gene in the hope that discovering its role in lung physiology will eventually lead to more effective therapy.

(Originally posted on today.mun.ca on Jan 12, 2006)