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Michigan State University | 1999 | B.S.
My lab team’s overarching research goal is to elucidate mechanisms by which absence of the parkin protein causes a subset of human dopaminergic neurons to degenerate. Parkin loss-of-function Drosophila is a particularly useful model in this context because the fruit fly has a brain region that is evolutionarily and functionally homologous to the brain structure that undergoes degeneration in Parkinson’s disease patients. Parkin-null flies have selective degeneration in this region and subsequent motor deficits that are easily observed. We were the first to report deficits in a heterozygous parkin loss-of-function model. Using transgenic flies that facilitate visualization of mitochondria and autophagosomes in vulnerable fly neurons in vivo, we have reported significant differences in mitochondrial protein oxidation, morphology, and turnover in degenerating parkin-null fly neurons; these differences were not observed in similar but non-degenerating neurons. Our recent efforts have laid the foundation for additional cell-specific gene editing studies that will allow us to address our overarching research question. In a few short generations, we can continue to observe the effects of gene expression changes in a cell-type specific manner, and compare degenerating and non-degenerating cells.
College of Health Sciences - AZ
College of Veterinary Medicine
College of Graduate Studies - AZ
Biomedical Sciences (M.A.)
Biomedical Sciences (M.B.S.)
Molecular Cell Biology
Steffensen SC, Shin SI, Nelson AC, Pistorius SS, Williams SB, Woodward TJ, Park HJ, Friend L, Gao M, Gao F, Taylor DH, Foster Olive M, Edwards JG, Sudweeks SN, Buhlman LM, Michael McIntosh J, Wu J. Addict Biol. 2018 Sep;23(5):1079-1093. doi: 10.1111/adb.12559. Epub 2017 Sep 13.
Buhlman LM. Mitochondrial Mechanisms of Degeneration and Repair in Parkinson's Disease pp 207-218| Altering Mitochondrial Fusion and Fission Protein Levels Rescues Parkin and PINK1 Loss-of-Function Phenotypes. 2016.
Buhlman LM and Hu J. Mitochondrial Mechanisms of Degeneration and Repair in Parkinson's Disease pp 219-229| Early Nicotine Exposure Is Protective in Familial and Idiopathic Models of Parkinson’s Disease. 2016.
Society for Neuroscience