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Megan Euker Presents San Rocco Therapeutics’ Project To The Italian Fulbright Commission

Megan Euker (Photo Credit: Luigi Porzia)

LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, October 20, 2022 / -- Oct the 3rd, in Rome, Italy, two-time Fulbright recipient Megan Euker presented to the Fulbright Commission her project which combines a wide variety of professional disciplines and students’ interests. These fields include art, medicine, law, and biomimicry (the emulation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems).

Euker has written and piloted over thirty different courses across six departments at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and other institutions. She will now be instructing at the Fine Arts Academy in Siracusa, Italy (also known as Mediterranean Arts and Design —MADE) through April 2023.

As a Fulbright Ambassador, Euker’s research work in Italy is focusing on rare diseases, also known as Orphan Diseases. These illnesses are often abandoned as researchers race to make what they deem easier profits with other diseases which have larger patient populations. Specifically, through her work with San Rocco Therapeutics (“SRT”), she has been targeting the blood disorders Sickle Cell Disease and its cousin disease Thalassemia.

Megan, who is Italian-American and speaks the language fluently, met Patrick Girondi in 2016. Mr. Girondi is the founder of San Rocco Therapeutics, a gene therapy company working on the cure for Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia. Girondi’s son is afflicted with Thalassemia.

Euker’s project is titled “Sangue Tira,” Italian for “blood pulls.” Megan went on to elucidate that “Upon learning about (Girondi’s) company, their gene therapy for Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia, and a father’s quest to cure his son, I immediately became invested in the project. Mr. Girondi pointed me to a New York Times article published in 2015 about his company’s ongoing battle to retrieve their therapy to cure Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia, and I decided this case was the piece of the puzzle connecting my artistic talent with medicine: to use art to help people with orphan diseases.”

Euker consulted for SRT for 4 years during their major court battle with Bluebird Bio in the New York Supreme Court. She eventually landed a management position with the company.

Elaborating on her future plans, Euker stated “For the research portion of my project, I will integrate myself into the Italian health system, hospitals, and patient centers, particularly those with connections to SRT in the south of Italy that serve as the model for my advocacy in the United States.”

Upon return to the USA, Euker will present an exhibition of her students’ designed medical object work from Sicily, Chicago (SAIC), and Tampa (USF) at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago, which will be the third exhibition she has curated at the museum. She also exhibited her own work about SRT’s court case and gene therapy at the museum, “THE CURE.”

Euker added, “Building on my existing connections in the U.S., the academic and professional relationships I forge in Italy will become part of a wider and more consequential network.”

Preview video for Megan Euker’s Fulbright Scholar project:

Aurora DeRose
Boundless Media Inc.
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