I am currently a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Kelly Monk at Vollum Institute, OHSU. My goal is to identify signaling pathways that are involved in myelination formation in CNS and PNS, using zebrafish as a model system.
Using Drosophila as a model system, my PhD thesis with Dr. Catherine Collins at University of Michigan has focused upon deciphering an unexpected relationship between the kinesein-3 motor Unc-104/Imac, which is thought to be a major transporter of synaptic components in axons, and the Wallenda/DLK MAPK pathway. This pathway was previously best known for its roles in regenerative and degenerative responses to axonal injury. Mutations in unc-104 cause striking defects in synaptic development, however my colleagues and I discovered that these defects are largely due to the actions of the DLK signaling pathway. Further work builds our current model that DLK may regulate levels of presynaptic proteins in accordance to their transport by Unc-104/Imac, analogous to UPR stress pathways.