Sequencing LilBUB is a real team effort.
First of all, this project would not be possible without LilBub and Mike. You can find out more about LilBub here, here and here. Mike is LilBub’s wonderful owner, who takes care of her and makes sure that everything is in her best interest. Also, Mike provided us with all the cool pictures of Bub.
I’m a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and study the genetic basis of developmental disorders in humans, which often affect only very few patients. When I first learnt about LilBub, I couldn’t help but think of how similar her case is to patients born with a rare disease, only that she’s a cat.
Moreover, there are several overlapping diseases that share some of the features LilBub has, but nothing alike. That’s where the idea was born to sequence the DNA of LilBub, and after thinking about it I only found pros and no contras. I’m really curious to find out what causes the LilBub’s condition, finding it out can provide help for the medical treatment of LilBub, and we can have a project that let’s us communicate and show the stuff we geneticists do.
Darío G. Lupiañez
I am a postdoctoral researcher working at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. My main interest is to understand how alterations in the genome can originate disease. When I first heard about LilBub I was fascinated about her spirit and how her happiness serves as a daily motivation for other people. However, I found extremely sad that the lack of information about her genetic condition averted her to receive a proper treatment. Unfortunately, this is a common problem not only for her but for people affected by rare diseases all over the world. I believe that finding out the cause of her condition will improve her life and raise awareness of the importance of studying this type of diseases.
I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I got involved in the LilBUBome, because Daniel and Dario wanted to make it an open science project – a way of doing science I find really exciting. I blog and tweet about science-related issues as a hobby, and it’ll be great to combine this hobby with such an awesome project! I’m also really curious about the science: during my PhD I studied mice with phenotypes similar to those of Lil Bub, and I’d like to know if the genetic cause of these features is similar, too.
And so, while Daniel and Dario will be doing most of the hands-on stuff, I will be mainly involved in keeping our readers up-to-date with developments and explaining what we are doing and why we’re doing it.
There are also many people associated with LilBubome, who know a god-damn lot about cats, bones, genomes, and all sorts of other helpful things. These guys provide us with advice and scientific services.
Prof. Leslie Lyons – a cat geneticists who heads the awesome 99 cat lives initiative which we encourage you to check out!
Prof. Uwe Kornak – a human geneticists who is (among other things) a specialist for inborn bone disorders
Finally, Daniel and Dario are part of the Mundlos lab in Berlin, a research group that studies the molecular underpinnings of rare genetic diseases in humans.