PhD Biological Sciences, Drexel University, 2019
BS Biology, Penn State University, 2011
Protein sorting and trafficking, neuroendocrine signaling, cell specificity
Growth factors are secreted proteins with well-studied roles in development, differentiation, metabolism, and many other cellular processes. Local secretion of growth factors such as transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) from neurons in the brain has also been shown to ameliorate aspects of neuronal dysfunction in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. While targeting TGF-β biogenesis may be a potential avenue for neurodegenerative disease therapeutics, there is not much known about the mechanisms governing TGF-β synthesis and secretion from neurons. We are using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, to study in vivo biogenesis and neuronal secretion of TGF-β-like protein called DAF-7 and, hopefully, gain insight into these mechanisms.