Teaching Professor, MCD Biology
B.S., University of California, Davis
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Postdoctorate, University of California, Berkeley
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TEACHING AND RESEARCH INTERESTS
My focus is on undergraduate teaching and the development of undergraduate curricula in molecular, cell, and developmental biology, with a particular emphasis on laboratory courses and the developing students' technical and critical scientific thinking skills. At UCSC, I teach or have taught courses in developmental biology (lecture and lab), eukaryotic genetics lab, introductory cell and molecular biology, and eukaryotic molecular biology; I am currently developing a new core biochemistry and molecular biology laboratory course. I also serve on the department's curriculum committee, and act as the faculty advisor for undergraduates in both the MCD Biology and Biology majors.
In addition to my major focus on teaching, I am involved as a collaborator with colleagues at Drexel University in a research program to identify regulators of the amyloid precursor protein (APP), a central protein in Alzheimer's disease pathology. The transmembrane protein, APP, which is expressed in neurons and other cell types, normally undergoes proteolytic cleavage; among the products of this cleavage is the amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide. In individuals with Alzheimer's disease (AD), the levels of this peptide are increased above normal levels; this excess Aβ forms the amyloid plaques, a hallmark of the disease. Evidence suggests that it is the high levels of Aβ that are the underlying cause of the neurodegeneration that underlies the memory loss and behavioral changes associated with the disease. As such, our goal is to identify factors that regulate cleavage of APP and generation of the Aβ peptide. My role is to use Drosophila models of AD to identify genes that encode proteins that affect Aβ-induced neurodegeneration by regulating levels of APP and/or its cleavage. I incorporate elements of this research into my genetics laboratory course, to provide students with an opportunity to participate, in a limited way, in a research project. I also serve as the statistical consultant for the collaboration.
Zhang, C. et al. 2007. ¬An AICD-based functional screen to identify APP metabolism regulators. Molecular Neurodegeneration Aug 24;2:15.
Patel, N. et al. 2008. MicroRNAs can regulate human APP levels. Molecular Neurodegeneration Aug 6;3:10.
Chakraborty, R. et al. In vitro and in vivo caloric restriction modulates APP metabolism. In prep.
Dorighi, et al. Teaching PCR through Inquiry in an Undergraduate Biology Laboratory Course. In: "Learning from Inquiry in Practice", ed. Hunter, L. & Metevier, A. J. Astr.Soc. Pac. Conf. Ser. In press