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The Olive Branch Fund Announces Funding Award to Harvard Researcher

NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Olive Branch Fund: A Thisbe and Noah Scott Legacy, an organization dedicated to combating pediatric motor neuron diseases, today announced its first funding award to Kevin Eggan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University.  The award will support Dr. Eggan's ongoing research investigating the neuromuscular system and the diseases that affect it.  Dr. Eggan is a leading researcher in motor neuron disease. He received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 and received the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering from President George Bush in 2008.

"This initial grant to Dr. Eggan is an incredibly exciting milestone for us as we begin to invest the funds we have raised to support the mission of The Olive Branch Fund and to advance groundbreaking research in the fight against motor neuron disease.  We are pleased this award will support Dr. Eggan's important research while also providing clues into the mechanisms of Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere syndrome," said Laurian Scott, Co-Founder of The Olive Branch Fund.  Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere syndrome is a rare, progressive, neurodegenerative motor neuron disorder that specifically includes palsies (paralysis) of the cranial nerves, and is sometimes referred to as "bulbar palsy."  Throughout the past century, few cases of Brown-Vialetto-Van Laere have been reported in the literature, but those numbers are growing.

The Olive Branch Fund: A Thisbe and Noah Scott Legacy was formed in 2008 to promote research, awareness, and support for families of all pediatric motor neuron diseases in memory of Laurian and John Scott's two children, Noah, who passed away at 19 months, and Thisbe, who passed away just before her third birthday.  Six cities nationwide, including Nashville, Memphis, Richmond, and Phoenix, have held fundraisers for The Olive Branch Fund, raising over $500,000.  These fundraisers are titled "A Mighty Voice" and aid The Olive Branch Fund in carrying out its mission worldwide.

The Olive Branch Fund: A Thisbe and Noah Scott Legacy is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.  For more information, please visit

SOURCE The Olive Branch Fund
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