The long-term goal of my research is to understand the cellular and molecular basis of age-associated neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Towards this goal, I was the first researcher to develop a transgenic invertebrate model for a human neurodegenerative disease, by engineering C. elegans to express human b-amyloid peptide (Link, 1995). My lab's work in C. elegans demonstrated that TDP-43, a central player in ALS/FTD pathology, limits the accumulation of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) (Saldi et al, 2014). As mammalian models have improved, and genetic studies have implicated vertebrate-specific functions (e.g., microglia and neuroinflammation) in neurodegenerative diseases, my lab has shifted its focus to mammalian cell culture, human brain immunohistochemistry, and transcriptome analyses, including work with human iPSCs and human brain sequence data.
modeling human neurodegenerative diseases using cellular and C. elegans models
IPHY 4060 - Cell Physiology
Fall 2019 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021 / Fall 2022
Focuses on the molecular machines and cellular sub-compartments that allow cells to renew, replicate, and function in the context of multicellular organisms. Students must enroll in lecture and lab sections.
IPHY 6840 - Research Project
Involves a scholarly investigation of a selected topic using literature and/or experimental techniques. Advisor required. May be repeated up to 3 total credit hours.
MCDB 6000 - Introduction to Laboratory Methods
Introduces methodology and techniques used in biological research. Designed as a tutorial between a few students and one faculty member. Students are expected to read original research papers, discuss findings, and to plan and execute experiments in selected areas. May be repeated up to 15 total credit hours.