Stories

Coinciding with the World Rare Disease Day in February 2017, Notre Dame acknowledged a generous gift from Notre Dame parents David and Cathleen Reisenauer of Morgan Hill, Calif., which will allow the Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development to initiate a new area of research, focusing on the rare disease glycogen storage disease type III (GSDIII), also known as Cori Disease.

The Reisenauers, who have a strong, long-standing commitment to Notre Dame, have three children, all of whom are affected by the disease. The two oldest, Peter and Cayla, have GSDIII, and younger brother Andrew is a carrier, meaning the gene is recessive in him. Peter is a 2011 graduate of Notre Dame who also earned a law degree from the University of Southern California. Andrew is currently a sophomore at Notre Dame.

Hoping to advance research on the disease, David and Cathleen reached out to Notre Dame to learn what, if anything, researchers were working on regarding this disease. “As members of the Notre Dame family affected by a rare disease, we firmly believe in what the Warren Family Research Center is doing. For us, this is a long-term acknowledgment of the research that Notre Dame has committed to,” Cathleen Reisenauer said.

Although no research specific to GSDIII was underway at Notre Dame, researchers had related expertise. Professor Rich Taylor assembled a team of faculty affiliated with Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development and external collaborators to draw on their expertise to initiate research on GSDIII.

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Course and research options within the Minor in Sustainability Studies will expand, thanks to a 2017 endowment established to support the program.

The Otterbeck Family Endowment for Excellence in Undergraduate Sustainability Studies was established in March through the generosity of Jim Otterbeck and Suzie Otterbeck.

“The Otterbecks’ incredible generosity has been a game changer for the Sustainability minor,” said Rachel Novick, director of the minor. “We have been able to set a number of ambitious new goals in areas including curriculum enhancement, student research support, alumni mentoring, and career guidance.”

The first program supported by the endowment was a course development grant for spring 2018, which was awarded to six faculty members to support the creation of new sustainability courses. “We got so many exciting applications from departments ranging from political science to psychology to German,” said Novick. “The proposals exemplified our vision for including all disciplines in a dynamic conversation that contributes to addressing today’s global challenges.”

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