Neuropharmacology

BethAnn McLaughlin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Neurology

465 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN, 37232-8548
(615) 936-3847 (office)

Research Description

My laboratory is interested in studying cell signaling pathways related to neurodegeneration and protection. We have developed several in vivo and in vitro systems in which cortical neuronal cells can be rendered less sensitive to cell death following a nontoxic exposure to mild stressors. We use a variety of biochemical, molecular and proteomic approaches to both enhance our understanding of signaling pathways that we have already determined to be critical for the expression of preconditioning as well as to identify new protein targets which may contribute to this phenomenon. Our findings suggest that intervention against neurological events which result in subtoxic activation of traditional cell death pathways may actually increase vulnerability to subsequent stressors.
Other ongoing lab projects include understanding how classical biochemical changes in ion homeostasis and energetics induce the molecular pathways associated with apoptotic and autophaghic neuronal death.
Ongoing projects in the lab support mechanistic studies of mediators of apoptosis signaling kinase, chaperone proteins and mitochondrial dynamics.
The goal of my research program is to understand the endogenous pathways associated with neurodegeneration and protection to develop novel therapeutics for stroke, cerebral palsy and other degenerative conditions. In addition, these studies investigate signaling pathways which provide protective mechanisms against other forms of cell death.

Selected Publications