Dr. Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen is interested in neurodegenerative diseases and diseases that are characterized by abnormal synaptic activity, such as epilepsy. Her lab is currently examining candidate genes associated with the neurodegenerative disease sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS). There is currently no cure for the disease and only one approved therapy---which only extends life by three months, on average. Very little is known about what triggers the disease or the mechanisms that underlie motor neuron degeneration. In order to identify genes that predispose individuals to the disease and to discover new therapeutic targets, TGen, in collaboration with several other research centers, performed a whole genome association study on individuals with sALS. This effort resulted in a New England Journal of Medicine publication in 2007 (Dunckley et al.). Van Keuren-Jensen and her lab have been building the tools necessary to examine and characterize some of the most significantly associated genes identified in the study in order to develop new therapeutic targets.