My interest in rare diseases stems from the experience of having a brother with the muscle wasting disease, Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This experience pushed me towards a career in science and research. After some 18 years at research institutes in Scotland, the US, and France, I recently returned home to join the University of Ulster’s Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine. As part of the neuromuscular research team, I am looking for new ways to understand and treat a range of rare conditions affecting the body’s ability to control and maintain its muscle mass. Our focus is on the role of muscle in motor neuron disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). I learned about the NIRDP first through fellow researchers in the area, and I think that the NIRDP’s work is important because rare diseases are not rare at all when you add them all together!