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Featured Faculty

MichaelWhite

Michael White, Ph.D.

Professor, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
  • Research in the White laboratory is focused on how the malaria-related protozoa, Toxoplasma gondii, grows and develops in its human host. T. gondii 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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Education Programs

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Post Docs

MackenzieMartin

Mackenzie Martin

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.
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Ph.D. Students

SarahFontaine

Sarah Fontaine, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar Research, COLLEGE OF MEDICINE MOLECULAR MEDICINE
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