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Bonna Sheehan joined the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in June 2022 as a research assistant in Dr. Jennifer Erwin’s laboratory. She currently characterizes iPSC and ventral forebrain organoid models of X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism (XDP) to identify therapeutic targets for this fatal neurodegenerative movement disorder.

Bonna earned her B.S. degree in Cell and Molecular Biology with a Minor in Chemistry from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. There, she conducted research on auto-inflammatory diseases under Dr. James Pruitt in a medicinal chemistry laboratory, determining therapeutic value of synthesized small molecule inhibitors to the macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) protein.

After graduation, she began working for the Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she prepared and sequenced DNA samples for large-scale projects, utilizing and troubleshooting manual and advanced automated liquid handling. Bonna hopes to attend graduate school in the near future.

She presented her poster “Uncovering potential mechanism driving neurodegeneration in ventral forebrain organoid model of X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism” at the American Society of Human Genetics conference in Washington in 2023.