About Our Research

As gatekeepers and guardians of the nervous system, glia act as first responders to disruptions in homeostasis long before patients or neurologists are aware of disease. Therefore, investigating the mechanisms by which glia sense and respond to cellular stressors (such as excess/insufficient nutrients or misfolded proteins) offers a unique opportunity to identify therapeutic targets and biomarkers for disease. In our lab, we leverage the versatility of multiple model systems (C. elegans, cell culture, and mice) to reveal the mechanisms glial cells employ to sense and respond to cellular stressors to coordinate homeostasis within the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. We use a combination of tools including genetics, microscopy, animal behavioral assays, viral transduction, and single-cell functional genomics. Our long-term goal is to identify the fundamental cellular mechanisms that drive aging and give rise to age-onset metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.