Molecular Neuroscience Lab
We are an RNA Biology lab with a keen interest in studying RNP granules in neurons. RNP granules serve various crucial functions, including RNA transport, storage, translation repression, and mRNA turnover. Neurons, being long-lived cells with synapses separated from their cell bodies, heavily rely on neuronal RNP granules for both transport and local translation control. The formation and disappearance of these granules are tightly regulated in healthy neurons, and necessary for precise spatiotemporal translation control, synaptic plasticity and memory. Disruptions in RNP dynamics due to factors such as aging, stress, or disease-causing mutations result in pathological aggregate accumulation linked to neurodegenerative conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Understanding the cellular pathways governing aberrant RNP aggregation is crucial for developing treatments. Our research involves the use of Drosophila and mammalian cells to explore the molecular composition of neuronal RNP granules, the assembly processes of RNP granule proteins, cellular mechanisms regulating RNP granule dynamics, the domains in RNP granule proteins contributing to granule dynamics, and the potential impact of perturbations in these cellular mechanisms on neurodegenerative diseases.