Michael R. Altherr, PhD, received a BS degree in Biological Sciences from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1979 and an MS in 1981. He received his PhD from the University of California in 1986. Dr. Altherr then began working in biotechnology, where he developed a passion for creating tools that would support both the Human Genome Project as well as a tool to pursue the genetic basis of inherited illnesses. Since then, he has collaborated with several influential organizations and undertaken many scientific endeavors, including finding the gene responsible for Huntington’s disease. Through a series of “happy accidents,” Dr. Altherr’s work led him to the pursuit of the FSHD gene.
In 1991, Dr. Altherr received funding from the Muscular Dystrophy Association to pursue the genetic cause of FSHD. He and his team quickly produced a number of important findings that are the foundation for much of the current FSHD research. Dr. Altherr continued to work on FSHD with support from the MDA until 1996. Since then, he has had prominent roles at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Genomics Group.