This past summer I worked Dr. Anthony Grillo’s lab under my mentors Raghav Dutta and Alaa Hassan at the University of Cincinnati. The Grillo Lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms of mitochondrial complex 1 dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. It has been shown that an early feature of neurodegeneration is complex 1 dysfunction; we were trying to determine if this is a cause or an effect of these diseases. This summer, we focused on identifying different types of neuron subtypes in brain tissue samples, isolating primary neurons by first identifying and visualizing the types of brain cells present in brain tissue samples, and imaging protein aggregates that are thought to be a major cause of aging diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s Disease. We worked with complex 1 knockout mice because they give insight into how mitochondrial failure affects cellular physiology, giving us a better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms that induce these genetic, aging, and environmental diseases. We used two common techniques of western blot and immunofluorescence to accomplish these tasks. Through this experience in an interdisciplinary research lab that combined biochemistry, neuroscience, and physiology, I was able to expand on my prior knowledge both in and out of the lab and collaborate with graduate and post-doctorate students.
Apfelbaum, Amy; Grillo, Anthony PhD; Dutta, Raghav PhD; and Hassan, Alaa, "Understanding Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Neurodegenerative Diseases Using Novel Neuron Cell Models" (2023). Annual Student Research Poster Session. 138, Scholarly and Creative Work from DePauw University.