One of the major research focuses in our laboratory is to understand the cellular and molecular pathogenic mechanisms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), one of the most common age-dependent neurodegenerative diseases. FTD is often associated with Parkinsonism or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a devastating motor neuron disease. Several genes implicated in FTD-ALS spectrum disorders are involved in various aspects of RNA metabolism. In particular, we are most interested in the contributions of microRNAs, a class of small, non-coding regulatory RNAs, to the pathogenesis of these degenerative conditions. To this end, we use a combination of molecular, cellular, and genetic approaches in multiple experimental systems including fruit flies, mouse models, and patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
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