Dr. Eva Morava-Kozicz considers herself an old romantic and it was a fond remembrance of Tulane University that brought her back to the School of Medicine more than a decade after she trained here.
|Dr. Eva Morava-Kozicz
"I really loved Tulane 20 years ago because of the atmosphere, the people who were here, how warm the community is and how easy going, how we get along with each other," says Morava-Kozicz, a biochemical geneticist and Professor of Pediatrics.
That spirit of collaboration led to a groundbreaking discovery by Morava-Kozicz and her fellow researchers who study glycosylation disorders, inborn errors of metabolism that disrupt the synthesis of sugar-linked protein molecules in the body. The researchers found a link: patients with one type of glycosylation disorder who drank more milk experienced fewer medical issues, from seizures to uncontrollable bleeding. When the patients are given galactose, or milk sugar, their metabolisms recover and the symptoms disappear.
The initial findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the study continues with funding from Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS). The last two patients are finishing up a clinical trial and Morava-Kozicz says the final results could be ready to publish this year.
She hopes her discovery might lead to treatments for other glycosylation disorders.
"If galactose is working on a genetic level and somehow activates certain genetic, and not just biochemical pathways, then this will be a great success because we can help other types of glycosylation patients as well," she says.
Morava-Kozicz's research has appeared in dozens of publications including Nature, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews and Neurology. She is chief editor of the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease and a visiting professor in Belgium.
Love for New Orleans brought Morava-Kozicz and her family back to Tulane in 2012. Her husband, Tamas Kozicz
, is an associate professor of anatomy and her children both attend the university. Monika is majoring in film studies and digital imaging; Andras is majoring in architecture.
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