The Sturge-Weber Foundation (SWF) awarded grants totaling $88,000 for research to improve the understanding and treatment of Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) and port-wine birthmarks.

The grants, the largest awarded by the SWF to date, go to:

Jonathan Pevsner, PhD, professor of neurology and director of bioinformatics at Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, who will conduct DNA sequencing to gain a better understanding of the basic biology of SWS and investigate potential treatment strategies. Pevsner is one of the researchers who identified mutations in the GNAQ gene as the cause of SWS.

And Kristen Kelly, MD, clinical vice chief, dermatology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, who will evaluate three main cell types of lesions in patients with port-wine birthmarks to help better understand their causes and identify targets for treatment.