I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree in engineering, and I would like to switch tracks to study Huntington's disease in post-grad.
I'd ideally like to get involved in research, but I am not sure where to begin looking. (For example, which schools have HD research in the pipeline? What prerequisites are necessary to go into the field? How did you get into your position?)
Has anyone out there done this?
It just seems to me the more I dig into the history of HD, the more I've realized how much progress was brought about by those of us affected by it.
I feel very strongly that because I am relatively healthy, have the chance to go to school and have tested positive for this disease, I have almost an obligation to help (even in some small way) ensure that no other generation has to suffer from HD. I guess I am also not comfortable sitting back and waiting for the disease to take my life (and potentially my sister's) - I would much rather do what I can to help stop HD in its tracks while I am still able. We are a very, very small subset of the population, and it always seems that there is not a whole lot of incentive for people who aren't affected by the disease to get into the medical game. (But I could be wrong about that. Gene silencing is something that I never thought I'd see happen during my life time, so maybe I should have more faith in humanity as a whole.)
Anyway, those were just some thoughts, and I would love to hear the experiences of anyone else who might have been in a similar position before.
I would suggest that you contact an academic advisor to find out research focuses at various universities. The only project that comes to mind is through Stanford - http://web.stanford.edu/group/hopes/cgi-bin/hopes_test/
Science has progressed quickly from identifying the gene in 1993 to medical studies testing potential cures. The future is unpredictable and it is an exciting time!
I am taking my pre-med classes now and I used to be a clinical research coordinator for a different neurodegenerative disease, Friedreich's Ataxia. Although I don't know too much about HD research programs specifically, I do know some about working in clinical research, applying to various labs, etc. Please feel free to be in touch if I can be of any further help!