Lawrence Wrabetz, head of the myelin biology unit at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, has been appointed director of the Hunter James Kelly Research Institute (HJKRI) at UB.
Laura Feltri, who heads the neuroglia unit at the Italian institute and is Wrabetz’s spouse, also has been recruited to the HJKRI, which was established in 2004 by UB and the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. Wrabetz and Feltri will begin transitioning their laboratories to Buffalo this fall.
Both are highly regarded neuroscientists with significant backgrounds in basic and translational research on myelin, known as white matter—the sheath protecting brain nerve fibers that is essential for all normal functioning of the nervous system. They will work as a team in the HJKRI, located in UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in downtown Buffalo.
The appointments are in collaboration with Hunter’s Hope Foundation, established in 1997 by Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback, and his wife, Jill, after their infant son, Hunter, was diagnosed with Krabbe Leukodystrophy, an inherited fatal disorder of the nervous system. Hunter died in 2005 at the age of 8.