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Sarah Naguib

Department: Neuroscience

Faculty Mentor: Tonia Rex, Ph.D.

Dissertation Description: Study of EPO-mediated neuroprotective therapies

The Rex lab studies neuroprotective therapies to preserve vision from neurodegenerative disorders that don’t have a clear genetic cause, such as glaucoma and ocular trauma. We have identified a novel mutation in erythropoietin (EPO) that retains neuroprotective activity of this endogenous compound while attenuating production of red blood cells. When delivered to glaucomatous mice via viral mediated gene therapy, we see preservation of retinal ganglion cell bodies, visual function, and a reduction in axon degeneration. My project will use EPO to study the mechanism by which the neuroprotection is happening. We will explore the EPO-mediated Nrf-2 activation of the antioxidant response element.