Zachary March – Analysis of Tau Amyloid Formation in Neurodegenerative Disease
My research is focused on biochemical analysis of misfolded tau, a pathological hallmark of >20 neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and the frontotemporal dementias, and which has been recently implicated in chronic traumatic encephalopathies (CTEs) sustained by athletes and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers. After developing an amyloid seeding assay to detect misfolded tau in human brain samples, a critical goal is to determine the morphological changes of tau associated with this seeding phenomenon. Potential applications of such research include a mechanism for the high-purity amplification of specific amyloid conformations isolated from brain samples, and identification of links between specific amyloid conformations and disease phenotypes.
Seth Ritter – Neuronal Reprogramming Factor Library Expansion
Presently my research focuses on aiding in the construction of a neuronal transcription factor library to be used in cellular reprogramming for the purposes of controlling cell fate. This method is a variation on current induced pluripotent stem cell systems by directly inducing one cell type from another without a pluripotent intermediate. The potential applications of directed cell fate are vast and will lead to exciting and novel methods of tissue repair and organ replacement.