Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences

Focus of Work

Bio

Regulation of Motor Neuron and Dopaminergic Neuron Function in Development and Disease -------- Spinal Motor Neuron Development, Function and Degeneration in SMA and ALS: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are characterized by the selective degeneration of spinal motor neurons. As the leading genetic cause of infant mortality, SMA affects one in every eight thousand live births. Our group is interested in studying mechanism regulating motor neuron development an...[Read full text]Regulation of Motor Neuron and Dopaminergic Neuron Function in Development and Disease -------- Spinal Motor Neuron Development, Function and Degeneration in SMA and ALS: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are characterized by the selective degeneration of spinal motor neurons. As the leading genetic cause of infant mortality, SMA affects one in every eight thousand live births. Our group is interested in studying mechanism regulating motor neuron development and function, as well as why motor neurons specifically degenerate in SMA and ALS. To address these questions, we use a combination of genetic, biochemical and cell biological approaches, and utilize genetically modified mice, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells reprogrammed from fibroblasts, and zebrafish as model systems. We focus on the regulation of mitochondrial functions in SMA and ALS pathogenesis. Based on our findings, we hope to develop new therapeutic strategies for treating these diseases.[Shorten text]

Academic Focus

Dopaminergic Neuron Function and Degeneration in Parkinson's Disease: Dopaminergic neurons located in the ventral midbrain control movement, emotional behavior and reward mechanisms. Dysfunction of these neurons is implicated in Parkinson’s disease, drug addiction, depression and schizophrenia. Our group is interested in the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating dopaminergic neuron functions in disease and aging conditions. We are particularly interested in how aging and mitochondrial oxi...[Read full text]Dopaminergic Neuron Function and Degeneration in Parkinson's Disease: Dopaminergic neurons located in the ventral midbrain control movement, emotional behavior and reward mechanisms. Dysfunction of these neurons is implicated in Parkinson’s disease, drug addiction, depression and schizophrenia. Our group is interested in the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms regulating dopaminergic neuron functions in disease and aging conditions. We are particularly interested in how aging and mitochondrial oxidative stress contribute to dopaminergic neuron degeneration in Parkinson's disease through transcriptional and epigenetic regulations. We use mouse models, cultured neurons and iPS cells for these studies.[Shorten text]

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Education and Certification

  • PhD: Weill Medical College of Cornell University (2001)

Contact

773-755-6393

2430 North Halsted Street, C358
Chicago IL 60614