Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Neurological/Neurodegenerative

Szaro Laboratory

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Areas of interest: Developmental neurobiology, molecular neurobiology, neural regeneration, neurofilaments, axonal growth, and xenopus laevis embryology

Shin Lab

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My lab aims to identify how aberrant neuronal signaling and information processing occurs in the basal ganglia and connected brain areas at the cellular and network level in Parkinson's disease (PD). We also investigate the underlying therapeutic mechanism(s) underlying deep brain stimulation for PD. Findings from our research endeavors will help reveal novel treatment paradigms and/or improve current options for PD. To accomplish these aims, the lab employs a variety of electrophysiological techniques to monitor ion channel activity in brain slices and from multiple brain regions as single-unit spiking activity and oscillations from anesthetized or freely moving animals. As adjunct to the neurophysiological recordings, we also use a variety of behavioral tests such as the limb-use asymmetry test, the step test, the rotarod, elevated plus maze and open field test to assess motor function and state-dependent behavior. Immunohistochemistry and gene-silencing technology are part of the lab’s research armamentarium to identify alteration in protein expression and modulate neural function, respectively.

The Scimemi Lab

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In our lab, we are interested in understanding the functional properties of central synapses, the specialized structures that convert the electrical activity of a neuron into a chemical signal for its target cells. We want to understand how individual molecules are distributed within the synapse and how their spatial arrangement influences the properties of neurotransmitter release. We want to know how neurotransmitters diffuse outside of the synapse and generate long-distance signals to different cells. Our ultimate goal is to gain insights into the functional consequences of changes in synaptic function associated with the onset of different neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

Rangan Lab

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The goal of the Rangan Laboratory is to understand how a stem cell fate is initiated, maintained and terminated. Stem cells have the capacity to both self-renew and differentiate. Improper differentiation or self-renewal of stem cells can result in a loss of homeostasis, which has been implicated in human afflictions such as cancer and degenerative diseases.

Li Niu Research Group

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Our laboratory is interested in understanding the structure-function relationship and the mechanism of regulation of glutamate ion channel receptors. These receptors mediate rapid synaptic neurotransmission and are indispensable in the brain function, such as memory and learning. Abnormal receptor activity, however, has been implicated in various neurological diseases and disorders

The Li Lab

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Our goal is to understand the fundamental principles that governing the folding of RNA and to protein-RNA interactions.

The Chen Laboratory

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Ion channels are membrane proteins which allow ions across cell membranes in response to physical and/or chemical stimulations. They play a key role in electrical signaling of excitable cells such as neurons and cardiac myocytes. Dysfunction of ion channels could cause human neuronal, muscular, and cardiac disorders such as arrhythmia and epilepsy. Our goals are to understand how several subfamilies of potassium channels are gated and regulated in physiological and pathological conditions.