SURF

Malcolm Crawford

Morphological Changes in Dopamine Neurons Resulting From Tsc1 deletion

Dopamine is an important neuromodulator, and dysregulation of dopaminergic function is involved in many neurological disorders, from Parkinsons 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.

Message to Sponsor

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.
  • Major: MCB - Neurobiology
  • Mentor: Helen Bateup