Photos Shine New Light on Childhood Genetic Disorders

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology continues to pave the way for genetics research. The Institute's latest project includes raising awareness for childhood genetic disorders through the lens of a camera.

HudsonAlpha part­nered with Positive Exposure, a non-profit program founded by award-winning fashion photographer Rick Guidotti.

Neil Lamb, Ph.D., director of educational outreach at HudsonAlpha and Rick Guidotti have known each other for several years, starting with mutual service on the education committee of the American Society of Human Genetics. When HudsonAlpha scientists began looking at projects addressing childhood genetic conditions, Lamb thought almost im­mediately of how Guidotti’s artistry could help bring attention to important research while also introducing these children in a new light.

"This gentleman is one of the most amazing people I've met," said Rick Myers, Ph.D., the president of HudsonAlpha. "He has so much energy, he's really talented and has true compassion for the subject."

With 1 in 50 children being born in the United States with a disability, Myers says now is the time for people to respect and understand those that have genetic disorders. "I think the key is undestanding," said Myers. "This is often something that's swept under the rug or hidden and the idea that you bring this out front, and put it in the light of the fact that these are human beings and there's very much going on that's positive."

According to Myers, the photographs introduce the children and families of HudsonAlpha in a new light.

"They're very emotional," he said. "When you look at these children and see their families and brothers and sisters, that just adds a whole lot of meaning. For the researchers, this is very important because we get to the see the effects of what we're doing."

The exhibit of 20 photographs is on display at the Huntsville Museum of Art until April 14th. They will also be shown at HudsonAlpha's Spring Benefit for Childhood Genetic Disorders on April 25th.

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