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Online (Zoom)
West Midlands branch

An online Charter Lecture delivered by Professor Philip Young, University of Warwick

This year's annual RSB West Midlands branch Charter Lecture covers spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the new therapies available and the drive for genetic screening, delivered by Professor Philip Young from the University of Warwick.

Childhood spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is one of the the leading genetic causes of infant death in the UK, with a carrier frequency of 1 in 34 and an incidence of 1 in every 4600 live births. SMA is an autosomal recessive disorder that is caused by mutations in the survival motor neuron (SMN1) gene. Homologous loss of SMN1 causes the lower motor neurones to die through apoptosis, resulting in the breakage of the neuromuscular junctions and the progressive loss of the voluntary muscles of the limb and trunk through disuse atrophy.

This talk will be split into three separate parts:
  • The first will cover the clinical presentation and genetics of SMA;
  • The second will cover the two novel therapies that have now been approved in the UK (Spinraza, an antisense oligonucleotide therapy and Zolgensma, a novel gene therapy);
  • And the third will focus on the current UK diagnostic approach and why there is a pressing need for a UK newborn SMA screening programme.
Aimed at post-16 Biology students, this lecture should provide extra knowledge useful for essays and exams and there will be opportunity for the audience to ask questions to the speaker.


Advance registration is essential through the link at the top of the page. The Zoom meeting ID will be sent to all registered attendees in advance. Teachers wishing to make a group booking for students can contact Harriet McAra at with the number of students they would like to register.


For specific event enquiries, please contact Dr Daniel Franklin at
For booking and website queries, contact Harriet McAra at or on 020 3925 3445.

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