Basic areas include technology development for gene-targeted therapies including gene, ASOs and RNAi therapies; glia biology including oligodendrocyte and Schwann cell development, function and myelination; and neural tube development. Disease areas include hydrocephalus, neural tube defects, Tourette syndrome and multiple rare neurological disorders including lysosomal storage disorders, leukodystrophies, inborn errors of metabolism, neurofibromatoses, congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs), mitochondrial disorders, peroxisomal disorders, and metal metabolism disorders.
Dr. Jill Morris joined NINDS in 2011 and is a Program Director in the Division of Neuroscience at NINDS. She oversees basic grants in technology development for gene-targeted therapies, glia biology and neural tube development. She is also responsible for disease grants in hydrocephalus, neural tube defects, Tourette syndrome and multiple rare neurological disorders. Furthermore, Dr. Morris is the NINDS Liaison for the Rare Disease Clinical Research Network (RDCRN) an initiative of the Office of Rare Disease Research (ORDR), NCATS in collaboration with NINDS. NINDS co-funds 11 of the 20 consortia as well as the Data Management Coordinating Center (DMCC). She is also the lead of the extramural Trans-NIH Gene-Targeted Therapies for Nervous System Disorders Working Group (GeTTNSD). In addition, she is a working group member of URGenT: The NINDS Ultra-Rare Gene-based Therapy Network.
Prior to coming to the NIH, Dr. Morris was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Her laboratory studied the function of DISC1, a schizophrenia susceptibility gene. Prior to NIH, she was Senior Research Biologist in the Department of Neuroscience at Merck Research Laboratories where she directed research projects relating to bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Prior to Merck, she was a Senior Staff Fellow in the Unit of Molecular Neurogenetics at the National Institutes of Health where her research led to the identification and characterization of the gene responsible for the rare autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder called Niemann-Pick type C disease. Her background in gene therapy is from her graduate studies at the University of Minnesota.