Joining Soon: Ashley Frakes, Ph.D., Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator

Dr. Frakes and the Glial Biology Section are joining the Genetics and Biochemistry Branch in November 2021.

Photo of Ashely Frakes.

Contact Info


Open Positions

Post-doctoral fellow, graduate student, and post-baccalaureate positions are available. Please email and for more information.

Current 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.

Select Publications

Four glial cells regulate ER stress resistance and longevity via neuropeptide signaling in C. elegans.
Frakes A, Metcalf M, Tronnes SU, Bar-Ziv R, Durieux J, Gildea HK, Kandahari N, Monshietehadi S, Dillin A.
Science (2020) Abstract/Full Text
The UPRER: Sensor and Coordinator of Organismal Homeostasis.
Frakes A, Dillin A.
Mol Cell (2017) Abstract/Full Text
Measurements of physiological stress responses in C. elegans.
Bar-Ziv Z*, Frakes AE*, Higuchi-Sanabria R*, Bolas T, Frankino PA, Gildea HK, Metcalf MG, Dillin A.
J. Vis. Exp. (2020) Abstract/Full Text
Microglia Induce Motor Neuron Death via the Classical NF-κB Pathway in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Frakes AE, Ferraiuolo L, Haidet-Phillips AM, Schmelzer L, Braun L, Miranda CJ, Bevan A, Foust KD, Godbout JP, Popovich PG, Guttridge DC, Kaspar BK.
Neuron (2014) Abstract/Full Text
Co-targeting independent pathogenic mechanisms in ALS leads to additive benefits.
Frakes AE, Braun L, Ferraiuolo L, Guttridge DC, Kaspar BK.
Ann Clin Transl Neurol (2017) Abstract/Full Text