Profiles of Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Tiffany Todd


The Association is pleased to continue on the tradition of supporting bright, young scientists in ALS research through the Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. This year, we are supporting six new postdoctoral fellows out of a highly competitive applicant pool. In this series, we highlight the dedication and unique contribution each fellow makes to ALS research. Today, we feature Dr. Tiffany Todd from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Milton Safenowitz Postdoctoral Research Program, falls under our TREAT ALSTM Global Research Program and was founded by the Safenowitz family through the Greater New York Chapter of The Association. Mr. Safenowitz died of ALS in 1998 and the family and chapter continues its support to this day. Each award is for $100,000 over a two year period.

These awards are designed to encourage and facilitate promising young scientists to enter the ALS field and most importantly, to remain. Lending to the success of our program, over 90 percent of our postdoctoral fellows go on to start their own ALS research laboratories and then mentor their own young scientists.

Here we highlight each of our postdoctoral fellows awarded in 2016 in a series to learn more about their exciting studies and get to know the person behind the bench. Our second featured fellow is Dr. Tiffany Todd who is comparing how disease-related repeat expansions of C9orf72 in ALS and another neurodegenerative disease, spinal cerebellar ataxia type 36 (SCA36), cause toxicity in neurons (a type of cell that dies in ALS).

Tiffany Todd, Ph.D.

Mentor: Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.

Project: Modeling selective vulnerability and disease-specific functions in mice by the comparison of C9orf72 repeat models to a novel disease control

What is the impact of your research?

One of the barriers against treating a disease like ALS is that we don’t fully understand how it works. My work focuses on understanding the cellular mechanisms involved in ALS so that we can better design therapeutics.

Why do you love working in ALS research?

I love working in ALS research because of the strong community of scientists, patients, caregivers, and donors. We are always pushing each other to move forward and work for a cure.

Tell me something unique about yourself.

I’m an avid baker and particularly enjoy making pie. I always fill the lab break room with pie every “Pi Day” (3-14)!

Who are your heroes?

Although cliché, my heroes are my parents. They’ve always supported me, even when it meant moving away from home to devote my time to research.

Read more about her project here.

Read more about this year’s postdoctoral class here in our press release.

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