Brittney Lizama-Manibusan

Graduate Student, Neuroscience

Mentors:
Dr. BethAnn McLaughlin (Thesis)
Dr. Derek Riebau (Clinical)

My project involves identifying the molecular sensors of neuronal injury and mechanisms of cell survival. More specifically, I am interested in the mitochondrial protein PINK-1, which is known to target damaged mitochondria and initiate mitophagy. This mechanism of PINK-1 is important for mitochondrial clearance and cell survival under oxidative and energetic stress. Although PINK-1 has been studied in the context of Parkinson’s disease, I am interested in whether PINK-1 is involved as a molecular sensor of stress to mediate cell survival after ischemic injury. Moreover, in identifying PINK-1 and other proteins as key sensors of injury, I am interested in whether these molecules could be used as biomarkers of cell fate that can translate into prognosis or therapeutic tools for physicians treating stroke patients.