Dr. Elie Naddaf Receives Development Grant for Research on the Role of Mitochondria in Inclusion Body Myositis

Published April 28, 2022

Elie Naddaf, MD, was selected to receive a development grant from the ANF in 2021 for his research project “The Role of Mitochondria in Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM).”

Dr. Naddaf is a neurologist, specializing in NM disease, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Naddaf’s research objective is to describe the precise nature of mitochondrial dysfunction in IBM. His long-term goal is to identify better diagnostic biomarkers for IBM and novel evidence-based, targetable pathways for clinical trials.

Researching IBM is incredibly important for various reasons. “IBM is the most common muscle disease after the age of 40; almost all patients eventually become wheelchair dependent and lose their ability to use their hands; the disease mechanisms are poorly understood, which has resulted in various clinical trials, mostly targeting the immune system without any success; and it is a chronic disease with major long-term impacts on patients’ quality of life and cost to the healthcare system,” explained Naddaf. “It is time to take a step back and try to better define the underlying disease mechanisms, which would eventually lead to identifying novel, evidence-based, treatment targets.”

Dr. Naddaf’s ANF development grant will play a major role not only in funding his research, but also in supporting his work as an early career researcher. “In contrast to well-established experts in the field, early career physician-scientists have additional challenges in obtaining research funding, as most funding sources require a track record in the disease of interest. Therefore, development grants are crucial to catalyze my research career at this early stage,” said Naddaf. “The AANEM has distinguished itself by the association’s welcoming and nurturing environment for members at different stages of their career. Therefore, the development grants provided by the affiliated ANF are a testament to the ANEM’s dedication in that regard.”

Dr. Naddaf’s research efforts, as part of the ANF development grant, began July 2021 through June 2023. Following completion of the research, Dr. Naddaf will present his findings at an AANEM Annual Meeting.