Morsani College of Medicine
Department of Molecular Medicine
Joint and Affiliate Faculty
Post-Doctorates / Research Associates
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Master's of Science Program
Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases
USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute
Children's Research Institute (CRI)
Center for Drug Discovery and Innovation
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
James A Haley Veteran's Hospital
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
Professor, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
Research in the White laboratory is focused on how the malaria-related protozoa,
, grows and develops in its human host.
is an environmental pathogen of the central nervous system (class B bioterrorism agent), which causes an often fatal disease in people who are immunocompromised. Projects in our laboratory focus on how these parasites interact with their host cell to produce new progeny and establish persistent infections. Our studies employ a diverse and extensive array of genetic and biochemical approaches with special emphasis on whole-cell strategies that enable a global understanding of the biochemical pathways involved in parasite growth and development. From forward genetic approaches that allow essential protein factors to be identified by genetic complementation to cataloging gene clusters within the whole-cell transcriptome that are responsible for transduction of the parasite cell division cycle, we are uncovering novel pathways that hold the key to important parasite biology.
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Graduate Research Assistant, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
While chaperones are often linked to protein degradation, they also can preserve proteins. We have shown that one chaperone in particular, the constitutive Hsp70 variant, Hsc70, preserves free hyperphosphorylated tau, the accumulation of which can cause tauopathies including Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, other Hsp70 variants may be involved in the cell-to-cell propagation of tau; a recently discovered mechanism that could be contributing to the disease. Thus, inhibiting chaperones like Hsp70 proteins could be a novel therapeutic approach to treat multiple phases of tau diseases. To this end, we have screened a number of rhodacyanine derivatives designed to inhibit the Hsp70 family of chaperones for anti-tau activity. Our data shows that targeting Hsp70s may not only facilitate tau clearance inside of cells, but may also prevent its propagation in the brain.