Michelle L. Hastings, PhD

Professor and Director, Center for Genetic Diseases, Chicago Medical School

Michelle Hastings, PhD, is a professor and director of the center for genetic diseases at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Michelle’s research focuses on understanding genetic basis of disease and discovering new therapeutics that modulate the process of pre-mRNA splicing to alter gene expression. Her work has resulted in the discovery of effective means of targeting splicing with antisense molecules for the potential treatment of a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Batten disease, Usher syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Michelle’s studies on Usher syndrome led to the first demonstration that hearing and balance can be recovered in mice with a mutation that causes congenital deafness in humans, laying the groundwork for developing a treatment for Usher in humans.

Her recent work has demonstrated that antisense technology can modulate gene expression pathways associated with Alzheimer’s disease to mitigate learning and memory deficits in mouse models of the disease. A major focus of the lab currently is on developing approaches to treat Batten disease using antisense technology. Michelle has many patents for her discoveries and has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and numerous foundation grants. She is on the editorial and scientific advisory boards for a number of journals and companies. In 2019, Michelle was recognized as a Researcher to Know by the Illinois Science and Technology Consortium.