Biological & Innovative Researchers

Xianlin Han, Ph.D.

Laboratory studies the role of lipid metabolism in age-related diseases with a major focus on Alzheimer’s disease. Previous work has revealed that among the earliest Alzheimer’s-related lipid alterations is a dramatic deficiency in a class of myelin-specific lipids, known as sulfatide, that is modulated in an age- and apolipoprotein E (apoE) isoform-dependent fashion. Research findings strongly support the notion that sulfatide plays a critical role in apoE-mediated Ab metabolism and Alzheimer’s pathogenesis. Current research efforts focus on elucidating the underlying molecular mechanism(s) leading to sulfatide deficiency at the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, identifying and describing the consequences of severe sulfatide losses (e.g., Ab deposition, tau hyperphosphorylation, astrocyte activation and ventricular enlargement) and the mechanisms leading to these sequelae and determining the connections between sulfatide deficiency and other Alzheimer’s risk factors (including aging and diabetes). Numerous animal models (e.g., sulfatide conditional knockout mice, AD mouse models, human apoE knockin mice and diabetic animal models) are used to study the role of sulfatide in aging and Alzheimer’s development.

Research Areas
Biological & Innovative Research

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Research Profile

Veronica Galvan, Ph.D.

Research focuses on the identification of molecular and biochemical alterations that cause Alzheimer’s disease. By understanding how the disease is triggered and how it develops, research will identify ways to slow or prevent the disease. This research uses genetic manipulations in mouse models, behavioral, immunohistochemical and biochemical approaches, in vivo brain optical and functional imaging, in vivo brain blood flow measures and cellular and molecular biology tools to understand the initiating molecular events in Alzheimer’s, determine the effects of potential drug candidate molecules and define the mechanisms involved.

Research Areas
Biological & Innovative Research

Contact:
Galvanv@uthscsa.edu
Research Profile

Bess Frost, Ph.D.

Studies focus on the fundamental processes in cell biology that drive neurodegeneration. Employing a multi-system approach to rapidly identify, test and validate hypotheses that are relevant to human disease. Early discovery takes place in Drosophila, a model organism that is well suited for investigating issues of causality in disease processes. To determine if studies are relevant to human disease, the research complements Drosophila  work with comparative analyses in postmortem human brain. A significant focus is on tauopathy. Tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease, are pathologically characterized by the deposition of neurofibrillary tangles composed of tau protein in the brains of affected individuals. Current objectives include investigating the cellular pathway whereby pathogenic tau mediates neuronal death and developing a novel screening platform to identify cellular mediators of prion-like tau propagation.

Research Areas
Biological & Innovative Research

Contact:
BFrost@uthscsa.edu
Research Profile