Lab News

Check Out These New Papers From Dr. Cortney Gensemer, Dr. Linda Bluestein, Dr. Russell Norris and 2022 HIP Intern, Victoria Daylor!

May 22, 2023 - "Hope for Hypermobility: An Integrative Approach to Treating Symptomatic Joint Hypermobility" (part 1 and part 2) was published in Topics in Pain Management. The paper is a collaboration between Dr. Cortney Gensemer, Dr. Russell Norris, Dr. Linda Bluestein, and 2022 HIP Intern, Victoria Daylor. Check out part 1 here, and part 2 here.

Where Are They Now?

May 22, 2023 - Congratulations to 2021 Norris Lab HIP Intern, Roman Fenner, on his acceptance to the MD/PhD program at MUSC! Awesome, Roman!

Governor of SC Proclaims May "Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders Awareness Month"

April 27, 2023 - May is the official awareness month for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder. As part of the Ehlers-Danlos Society's "Acts of Awareness Challenge," lab member, Julianna Weninger, received a governor's proclamation declaring May as the official awareness month in South Carolina. Want to get a proclamation from your state or local government? Find all of the instructions here. Awareness is key!

HIP 2022 Alum...Where Are They Now?

March 17, 2023 - HIP 2022 alumnus, Christina Hastings, recently accepted an internship at Teva Pharmaceuticals! Congratulations, Christina! We're so proud of you and all that you've accomplished outside of the Norris lab!

Congratulations Leon & Rebecca!

March 15, 2023 - Congratulations, Leon and Rebecca! Norris Lab members, Leon Guo and Rebecca Byrd passed Step 1 (Rebecca) and Step 2 (Leon) of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This is a 3-step examination that medical students must take in order to receive medical licensure in the United States. Amazing!

Join Our Team!

March 8, 2023 - The Norris Lab is hiring a full-time Program Coordinator. Please see the job description and requirements at the following link: If you think you're a good fit for this position, please apply!

HIP 2022 Alumnus Presents hEDS Research at Georgia Conference

March 1, 2023 - HIP 2022 alumnus, Christina Hastings, presented a poster at the Southeast Regional Clinical & Translational Science Conference in Georgia on her Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome research from the Summer 2022 HIP program. Way to go, Christina! 

HIP 2021 Alumnus Accepted into Emory PhD Program

February 27, 2023 - Hypermobile Intern Program alumnus, Katherine Singleton, was accepted into Emory University's PhD program for Genetics and Molecular Biology. The program offers training in the fields of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, cell biology, developmental biology, and epigenetics. Katherine starts her program in August. Congratulations, Katherine! We can't wait to see what you accomplish!

Bobby Jones Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation Quarterly Meeting on 2/16/23

February 14, 2023 - The Charleston Chapter of the Bobby Jones Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation will be having their quarterly patient to patient support group and expert lecture. This quarter will feature Dr. Alan Snyder, an MUSC dermatology resident, and focus on "Cutaneous Manifestations, Concerns and Considerations in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome." The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 16th in the Bioengineering Building, room 110. The patient-to-patient support group begins at 5:00 pm, and the expert lecture begins at 6:30 pm. Please register beforehand at this link. This will be a hybrid event. Hope to see you there!

Jordan Morningstar Gives 3 Minute Thesis

January 25, 2023 - On January 18, 2023, MD/PhD student Jordan Morningstar presented his "3 minute thesis" about his studies in mitral valve prolapse and cardiac fibrosis. Jordan spent over a month in Germany studying mitral valve prolapse and fibrosis, observing cardiothoracic surgery, and collaborating with other scientists from around the world. 

Readers Digest UK EDS.pdf

Dr. Cortney Gensemer & Norris Lab featured in Reader's Digest UK

January 24, 2023 - Dr. Cortney Gensemer was featured alongside Professor Lara Bloom and Jeannie Di Bon in Reader's Digest UK in an article entitled "Bending Boundaries." The article highlighted how each woman is shaping the future of hEDS. Congratulations, Dr. Gensemer! Click here to open the article!

Thank you Milton J Wood Fire Protection!

January 3, 2023 - The Norris Lab received a generous donation from Milton J Wood Fire Protection. Thank you for supporting us in our research!

CNN Article Featuring hEDS, Dr. Cortney Gensemer, Dr. Russell Norris, and the Norris Lab Reaches CNN's "Top 100 Digital Stories" for 2022

December 31, 2022 - After only a week, the CNN article featuring hEDS, Dr. Cortney Gensemer, Dr. Russell Norris, the Norris Lab, and numerous other scientists and medical professionals with hEDS has reached #97 on CNN's "Top 100 Digital Stories in 2022." Missed the article? Check it out here.

CNN Article Featuring Dr. Cortney Gensemer and Dr. Russell Norris Poses Important Question: "Why Isn't The Medical Profession Paying More Attention?"

December 24, 2022 - An article by CNNHealth featuring Dr. Cortney Gensemer and Dr. Russell Norris, along with other individuals, scientists, and medical professionals with hEDS, poses an important question...If so many people have this disease, then why isn't the medical community paying attention to it? Check out this article hear the stories of individuals living with hEDS, and see how the Norris Lab and other "hEDS-ers" are taking matters into their own hands and working to change the course of this disease. 

President’s Values in Action Awards celebrate ‘above and beyond employees’

On November 14th, Dr. Chip Norris received the Impact Award from the president of MUSC, Dr. David Cole. Read the full story here.

Jordan Morningstar and Tyler Beck finalists in "SC Innovates" statewide student pitch competition

November 15, 2022 - Lab members, Jordan Morningstar and Tyler Beck, are finalists in the SC Innovates statewide student pitch competition. They will pitch their concept for "MitRx Therapeutics" during the live finale on Wednesday, November 16th between 5:30-7:30 pm ET. To register for this event, click here. Be sure to vote for Jordan & Tyler, and their concept, MitRx Therapeutics! Congratulations Jordan & Tyler! Good luck, and good luck to all those competing in the competition!

Dr. Chip Norris receives highest honor, the Impact Award, at MUSC's 2022 Values in Action Awards

November 14, 2022 - Dr. Chip Norris was recognized at MUSC's 2022 Values in Action Awards by receiving the highest honor, the Impact Award, for his hardwork, dedication, and collaboration to his research in both cardiovascular studies and Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Dr. Norris was nominated by Dr. Stephen Duncan. The award was presented by MUSC's president, Dr. David Cole. Congratulations, Dr. Norris! 

Progressnotes: "Uncovering the Mystery of the Pineal Cyst"

Check out this article written in MUSC's Progressnotes about the future of pineal cysts with Dr. Sunil Patel, Dr. Libby Infinger, and Dr. Chip Norris. Learn how these physicians plan to collaborate with the Norris Lab to tackle pineal cysts. Read this article of Progressnotes here.

Jordan Continues his Mitral Valve Prolapse Research in Germany

Jordan Morningstar, a 3rd year MSTP student in the Norris lab, is trying to understand why mitral valve prolapse patients develop regionalized myocardial fibrosis in the heart, which in turn can cause MVP patients to experience lethal ventricular arrhythmias.  As part of his PhD thesis, he traveled to Leipzig Germany for a month in order to work with some of the world's preeminent mitral valve surgeons.  While in Leipzig, he will collect endomyocardial biopsies from regionalized fibrotic scars, as well as healthy myocardium from surgical MVP patients, which will be subjected to cutting edge single cell 'omics' techniques.  Single cell sequencing will allow the entire landscape of a fibrotic scar to be categorized on a tissue, cellular, and molecular level, and will allow our group to answer the question, "how does fibrosis develop in MVP and what can be done to stop it?"

The Norris Lab Attends the Ehlers-Danlos Society International Scientific Symposium

Dr. Norris, Dr. Gensemer, Jordan Morningstar, and Taylor Petrucci traveled to Rome, Italy to attend the Ehlers-Danlos Society's International Scientific Symposium. The lab presented 2 posters and 2 talks at the symposium.

The Norris Lab Meets First Year Students at Poster Session

September 7, 2022 - The Norris Lab enjoyed meeting first year graduate students at Tuesday's poster session. We shared our research, how our lab works, and discussed future projects with potential students.

The Norris Lab is Excited to Welcome Julia Hohn!

September 6, 2022 - The Norris Lab is excited to welcome Julia Hohn to the lab! She will be starting in the lab as a postdoctoral scholar in January after the success defense of her dissertation. She is graduating from the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy. Welcome, Julia!

Listen Now..."Innovatively Speaking: The Most Common Disease You've Never Heard Of"

August 17, 2022 - Check out MUSC's podcast "Innovatively Speaking," where Dr. Chip Norris and Dr. Cortney Gensemer take a deep dive into hEDS, how MUSC and the Norris Lab is trying to change the future of hEDS, and topics like the true prevalence of hEDS, symptoms, why physicians are so dismissive of hEDS, the benefits of early diagnosis, research & the registry in the Norris Lab, and how to change the perception of the disease. Listen now on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!

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

July 29, 2022 - 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: 

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:

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.