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Revealing Rare Genes is a blog covering topics at the intersection of rare diseases and RNA therapeutics. We feature individual diseases, highlight patient stories, and delve into the challenges of bringing these therapies to market. Sometimes science can feel disconnected from the real world and everyday people. Through this blog we aim to forge connections that drive drug development for rare diseases forward: to connect all people with stories to inspire action; scientists with research challenges to overcome; and clinicians with healthcare gaps to address. By establishing these connections, Revealing Rare Genes mirrors the aim of La Jolla Labs: to make the drug discovery process more accessible. We hope you join us for the ride.

About the Authors

Melissa Keenan

Perla J. Sandoval

Allison M. Brown

Melissa Keenan earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from UC San Diego (cum laude) and her Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University with certificates in Cell and Molecular Biology and College Teaching. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Ionis Pharmaceuticals before stepping away from the bench to support her family at home. Melissa now balances watching her kids by day and consulting as a science writer and editor by night (and sometimes naptime). An enthusiastic molecular biologist at heart, communicating science effectively is a central priority to her as a scientist and a person.


Perla J. Sandoval began her scientific journey at San Jose State where she completed her B.S. in Chemistry and worked in a lab synthesizing nanoparticles for bioimaging applications. She then became interested in understanding biology in a disease-related context and enrolled in UC San Diego’s Biomedical Sciences program where she worked in a cancer biology lab and earned her M.S. She is now working as a scientist at La Jolla Labs researching oligonucleotide therapeutics to treat patients with nano-rare diseases. She finds great fulfillment in this work as it has a direct impact on the lives of patients and is excited to expand her knowledge on the subject through scientific writing.

Allison M. Brown is a person with many passions.  She developed an interest in personalized medicine at an early age and was given the opportunity to start her career in the industry at just twenty years old.  Allison has been working as the Project Coordinator at La Jolla Labs for over a year and is always eager to take on new projects.  Outside of work, Allison is in school studying for her B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration on animal health and behavior.  She hopes to one day further her education by studying the connections between animal adaptations and future medical advances.  As a writer and rare disease patient herself, Allison is excited to dive into the genetics, patient, and clinical details of any rare genetic disorder.

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