Morphological Changes in Dopamine Neurons Resulting From Tsc1 deletion

Summer 2017

Malcolm Crawford : MCB - Neurobiology

Mentor: Helen Bateup

Dopamine is an important neuromodulator, and dysregulation of dopaminergic function is involved in many neurological disorders, from Parkinson’s disease to addiction. The mTOR pathway, a ubiquitous signaling pathway which regulates cell growth and survival, plays an important role in dopamine neuron fate. By manipulating mTOR signaling in dopamine neurons via cell-type specific deletion of the Tsc1 gene, a negative regulator of the mTOR complex, I am examining how changes in cell morphology and protein expression levels are impacted by mTOR hyper-activation. This work can contribute to a better understanding of the mechanism governing several neurological diseases, including tuberous sclerosis complex and autism spectrum disorder.

I am so incredibly grateful to the Rose Hills Foundation. This was my first opportunity to do research full time and I feel so privileged that it was also an independent project in an area of incredible interest to me. I dreamed of research since childhood, but this experience really hammered home even better than my part-time work throughout the school year that research will be an ever-present part of my career and life. In addition to learning about work specific to a lab, I learned a lot about myself, how to improve time management and communication, and how to succeed in similar environments going forward. Again, thank you.