Lab News

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The Norris Lab hosts 2022 Gensemer Hypermobile EDS Intern Program Summer Symposium

The Norris Lab hosted 5 interns this summer through the Gensemer Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Intern Program, a program that allows collegiate and postbac students with hEDS to become a patient-scientist and study their own condition in the Norris Lab. This was the program's 2nd year. After 10 weeks in the lab, the interns presented their findings to their peers during a summer symposium with special keynote speaker, Dr. Paldeep Atwal. Congratulations to all of our 2022 interns! If you are interested in the intern program for 2023, applications will open on our website in the winter of 2022.

EDS Society Awards $150,000 Grant to Dr. Chip Norris

June 19, 2022 - The Ehlers-Danlos Society funded 3 grants for "Research and Educational Support in EDS," with $150,000 being awarded to Dr. Chip Norris. The funds will be used to explore new gene candidates for hEDS and allow the lab to test how genotype can correlate with phenotype and comorbidites. Congratulations, Dr. Norris!

Dr. Norris and Dr. Gensemer to Speak at "Inspiring Scientific Curiosity and Discovery" Webinar

June 9, 2022 - Join Dr. Chip Norris and Dr. Cortney Gensemer on Thursday, June 16th, 2022 from 12:00 pm-1:00 pm EST as they discuss the background of hEDS, the work of the Norris Lab, and their philosophy of including patients in the study of hEDS. This is a free webinar and open to the public. Registration required, register here!

The Norris Lab now proudly presents Dr. Kelsey Moore and Dr. Cortney Gensemer!

May 20, 2022 - MUSC's College of Graduate Studies recognized two members of the Norris Lab, Cortney Gensemer and Kelsey Moore, in their 2022 Hooding Ceremony. Both Cortney and Kelsey are graduating with their doctorate. Cortney also received the Student Impact Award during today's ceremonies for the vast and meaningul impact her research has had on a community that has been living with a disease that has gone grossly under-researched and under-funded. Way to go Kelsey and Cortney! We know you'll continue to leave your mark, wherever life takes you. Congratulations Dr. Moore and Dr. Gensemer!

Congratulations to Dr. Tyler Beck, PhD!

May 13, 2022 - Tyler defended his dissertation titled, "Pharmacokinetic Optimization of Peptides and Small Molecules" on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Congratulations Tyler! The Norris Lab is so proud of you and all that you've accomplished!

Take a virtual tour of the Norris Lab!

Interested in what's going on in the Norris Lab? Check out this virtual tour!

Notice of Dissertation Defense

Tyler Beck will be defending his dissertation entitled, "Pharmacokinetic Optimization of Peptides and Small Molecules" on Thursday, May 12th, 2022 at 12:00 pm in room 110 of the Bioengineering Building. His defense will also be available virtually here. Congratulations on all of your hard work Tyler!

Dr. Chip Norris & Jordan Morningstar's work featured in the Spring issue of Progressnotes

An article featuring Dr. Chip Norris and Jordan Morningstar's research about surgical guidelines in patients with mitral valve prolapse (MVP) was highlighted in MUSC's Spring issue of Progressnotes. Their research suggests that changing the surgical guidelines can help prevent fibrosis and improve outcomes. Read the entire article here.

Master's student, Taylor Petrucci, presents hEDS poster at SC-PEAR event

Taylor presented a poster about Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) for the SC-PEAR event called "lab to leaders." The purpose of the event was to present an accessible version of our research to the public. Taylor hopes to increase public awareness of the reasearch being done at MUSC and in the Norris Lab! Way to go, Taylor!

In the Footsteps of Giants

A morning with Dr. Roger Markwald and Dr. Charlie Darby. Also pictured are Dr. Chip Norris and Dr. Cortney Gensemer as well as two of Dr. Darby’s children: Beth and Joya. Picture taken in the Norris lab, which is located in the Darby’s Children’s Research Institute. Thank you so much to the Darby’s for coming to visit and learn about our work on Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome!

Norris Lab Receives "Cilia and Valvular Heart Disease" Award from NHLBI

The Norris Lab was awarded the "Cilia and Valvular Heart Disease" award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The award is valued at 2.3M over the next four years.

MUSC and the Norris Lab hosted a gathering including patients, researchers, and administration to thank the donors who have helped fund hEDS specific research. An unveiling of newly-named areas of the Norris Lab included the "Maltz Family Ehlers-Danlos Genetic Lab," and the "Charlie and Mindy Brain Ehlers-Danlos Research Innovation Station." The Norris Lab is the first lab in the world dedicated to EDS research.

Dr. Gensemer's article, "Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndromes: Complex phenotypes, challenging diagnoses, and poorly understood causes" is Top Cited Article for 2020-2021 in Developmental Dynamics

Dr. Cortney Gensemer's article remains the most cited article in Developmental Dynamics for the year 2020-2021. Congratulations, Dr. Gensemer!

Congratulations Kristina!

Norris Lab research specialist, Kristina Stayer, was accepted into MUSC's PhD in Biomedical Sciences program! Congratulations, Kristina! We can't wait to see all that you accomplish!

Norris Lab receives 3 year funding for "The Gensemer hEDS Intern Program"

The Norris Lab has received 3 year funding from The Fullerton Foundation to grow and sustain the hEDS Intern Program. At the request of the foundation, the program has been renamed "The Gensemer hEDS Intern Program" to honor Dr. Gensemer for her work in promoting awareness, advocacy, outreach as well as mentorship of young patients with hEDS. The goal of the program is to develop these patients into patient-scientist who will continue studying hEDS and co-morbidities as part of their career in health care and research.

Congratulations to Dr. Cortney Gensemer, PhD!

March 27, 2022 - Cortney defended her dissertation titled, "Leveraging Human Genetics to Uncover Molecular Mechanisms in Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome" on Friday, March 25, 2022. The Norris Lab is so proud of everything Cortney has been able to accomplish, as her research brings hope to the 15 million patients living with hEDS. Congratulations, Dr. Gensemer!

An article in the Post and Courier highlights the scientific advances of PhD Candidate, Cortney Gensemer, and advocacy work of local teen, Sydney Severance. Together they are making strides in the care of hEDS patients, not only in the Lowcountry, but across the world.

The South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute will host their next Translational Research Day on March 25th, 2022. The keynote speakers will feature Dr. Russell "Chip" Norris of the Norris Lab and Dr. Sunil Patel, chief of neurosurgery at MUSC. They will discuss their collaboration and the progress of the hEDS gene research study. The event is virtual from 8:30 am-12:30 pm EST. Register for the event here.

A peer review of the article "Mitral valve prolapse induces regionalized myocardial fibrosis" written by Jordan Morningstar and Cortney Gensemer was recognized by EurekAlert! This study focuses on the impact of fibrosis on surgical intervention, and if surgical intervention should take place earlier in order to be more successful.

The Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease published the article entitled "DCHS1, Lix1L, and the Septin Cytoskeleton: Molecular and

Developmental Etiology of Mitral Valve Prolapse" on February 17th, 2022. The article features authors Kelsey S. Moore, Reece Moore, Lilong Guo, Cortney Gensemer, Rebecca Stairley, Janiece Glover, Tyler C. Beck, Jordan E. Morningstar, Rachel Biggs, Alexander Awgulewitsch, and Dr. Russell Norris.



Norris Lab Awarded $50,000 Grant from the Ines Mandl Research Foundation

The Norris Lab was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Ines Mandl Research Foundation to further research the gene(s) assosciated with hEDS. The IMRF is dedicated to providing research funding to fight connective tissue disorders.

December 7, 2021 - Jordan Morningstar and Cortney Gensemer co-authored a paper published by the Journal of the American Heart Association about the relationship between mitral valve prolapse (MVP) and regionalized myocardial fibrosis.

December 3, 2021 - The Ehlers-Danlos Society is delighted to announce we have received a donation of $260,000 to advance research for those living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and hypermobility spectrum disorders. This transformative gift from an anonymous Donor generously enables us to accelerate research to benefit the community, worldwide.

There is currently an unmet clinical need for the development of sensitive and unbiased diagnostic tools for hEDS. Dr. Chip Norris at the Medical University of South Carolina, Principal Investigator, and Dr. Clair Francomano of IU University, Co-Investigator, will lead the newly funded study in collaboration with The Ehlers-Danlos Society Hypermobility Network.

Listen to Cortney, Chip, and Dr. Patel discuss EDS research on MUSC's podcast, "Science Never Sleeps"

October, 2021 - This episode of Science Never Sleeps highlights the dedication and commitment of MUSC's faculty to solving biomedical issues, discovering answers, and creating a better life for those affected by disease. It also features a very personal and poignant story of how a basic scientist, a clinical scientist, a student and 2 patients had ideas that sparked the potential of a new future for so many. This episode speaks to the very heart of Why We Do Research at MUSC. Listen here: https://research.musc.edu/stories/science-never-sleeps

Bobby Jones Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation Foundation Ask the Expert

September 2, 2021 - Dr. Norris and PhD Student Cortney Gensemer will be answering your questions about clinical and scientific discoveries in hEDS and associated co-morbidities. Video available soon here: https://bobbyjonescsf.org/video-library/

Norris Lab receives $200,000 Grant Award from the EDS Society for Molecular Studies in hEDS & HSD

August 26, 2021 - A research grant was awarded to the Norris Lab from the Ehlers Danlos Society. The grant application was titled 'Molecular, Biochemical & Genetic Mechanisms Underlying Connective Tissue Dysfunction in hEDS'. Check out the EDS Society Website to learn more about the project and other grants awarded.

"Our studies initiated with a large family that presented with inherited hEDS. Through our genetic studies, we were able to identify a mutation in a putative causal gene. This mutation was found in each of the nine affected individuals throughout four generations of the family and none of the non-affected individuals. Since this initial discovery, we have successfully generated a mouse model with the corresponding human mutation. These mice have phenotypes consistent with hEDS, therefore validating the mutation as causative. In this proposal, we wish to..." (continued in link above)

Jordan and Tyler will be presenting at AHA Scientific Sessions

November 13-15, 2021 - Jordan Morningstar and Tyler Beck will be presenting their research at the 2021 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Boston

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Jordan and Cortney awarded T32 Cardiovascular Training Grant

August 12, 2021 - Jordan Morningstar was awarded the T32 Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Grant, Training to Improve Cardiovascular Therapies. Cortney Gensemer was renewed on the same training grant for a second year.


Congratulations to Dr. Kelsey Moore, PhD!

July 29th, 2021 - Kelsey defended her dissertation titled "Molecular and Developmental Etiologies Underlying Mitral Valve Prolapse: Novel Mechanisms of PDGFRα and DCHS1". We are so proud of all her accomplishments and will miss her presence in the lab. Kelsey moved to New York and we wish her good luck with her new position as a business development executive at HistoWiz! Congratulations Doctor!!


HIP Students End of Summer Symposium

July 28th, 2021 - Our summer interns presented their work on hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome at our end of summer HIP symposium. They learned a variety of lab techniques this summer and worked on projects related to the genetics of hEDS, skin, GI and tendon phenotyping of our mouse model, hormones in hEDS and more!

When Miss America 2020, Camille Schrier, walked into the Norris Lab on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina, she was among peers. Not other contestants but other people who love science and are affected by an uncommon connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, or EDS. Schrier is perhaps not a typical Miss America. Her winning talent was a chemistry experiment, and she’s pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. But it was the Norris lab’s focus on EDS that brought her to Charleston...

MSTP Student Jordan Morningstar Admitted to Candidacy!

June 17th, 2021 - Jordan passed his qualifying exam and is one step closer to his PhD!

Tyler Beck Receives F31 for his MVP research

July 1, 2021 - Project title: Targeting Mek/Erk signaling in the treatment of mitral valve prolapse. Description: Mitral valve prolapse is a common cardiac valve disease with no non-surgical treatment options available. The proposed studies aim to establish hyperactivated Mek/Erk signaling as the disease initiating pathway in MVP and to assess the efficacy of MEK1 inhibitors in arresting disease progression. Completion of this proposal will provide new mechanistic insights into the molecular and developmental origins of valve disease, which may lead to the advancement of novel therapeutics to treat mitral valve prolapse.


Leon Hooding Ceremony

May 14, 2021 - Leon officially received his PhD and was recognized for his accomplishments at the MUSC hooding ceremony. We are so happy that we have had Leon in the lab and that we get to keep him around as a post doc!

Rachel accepted into PhD Program!

March, 2021 - Masters student Rachel Biggs was accepted into the PhD program in biomedical sciences! She will stay in the Norris Lab to work on hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.


Tatum Ann Beck is born

March, 2021 - Tyler and Liz Beck welcomed Tatum Ann Beck into the world on March 2nd, 2021. She weighed 6 pounds 7 ounces and had a full head of hair.