Research projects in my lab stem from two parallel goals:
Goal 1: To engage students in novel research using tools and techniques that are ubiquitous in contemporary cellular, molecular, and biomedical research.
Our primary model system is mammalian cell culture, which we combine with antibody-based techniques (e.g., immunocytochemistry, Western blot, immunoprecipitation, and ChIP) and nucleic acid-based techniques (e.g., plasmid transfections, luciferase reporter assays, RNA interference, and CRISPR-based manipulations) to investigate mechanisms that regulate cell behavior. When students join the lab, they focus their first few weeks learning to maintain cells in culture while developing a conceptual understanding of ongoing projects in the lab through weekly lab meetings and one-on-one discussions with me. They are then trained in techniques needed to advance an ongoing project with the goal that they develop independence in executing experiments and ownership of their data and its interpretation. Given the time-demands of research alongside the complicated schedules of undergraduate coursework, students often work in pairs to maintain weekly experimental progress, through which they develop communication skills and understanding of how to work effectively as a team member. A longer-term goal for students in my lab is that they make sufficient progress on their project(s) that will enable them to present their work at a professional conference such as the Society for Neuroscience or American Society for Cell Biology annual meetings. See the Presentation page within this section for past conference presentations by students in my lab.
Goal 2: To investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate cell behavior in normal physiology and disease.
Research projects in my lab are rooted in two broad interests, which are to better understand:
- The molecular mechanisms that regulate activity of the Egr family of transcription factors and their coregulators NAB1 and 2, and in turn how their regulation dictates their effects on cell behavior;
- Cellular and molecular events that are associated with the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, most notably Alzheimer Disease.
See the Publications page within this section for recent publications that include students in my lab as co-authors.