Of grants and fruitflies

The Krezschmar Lab including Dr. Cassar (front right).
The Krezschmar Lab team including Dr. Cassar (front right).

We congratulate Occupational Health Science’s Postdoctoral Fellow Marlene Cassar, Ph.D.,  upon her being awarded a $30,000 grant from the Collins Medical Trust. OHSU submitted a total of 15 grants for this round, and Dr. Cassar’s research project was one of four selected for funding.

Dr. Cassar supports the Kretzschmar Lab, and her funded project uses the fruitfly Drosophila to study how mutations in the Tau protein, which is a key factor in several dementias including Alzheimer’s disease, affect the function of this protein. Various fly lines will be created that express disease-associated forms of human Tau which will then be used to study how they interfere with the function and survival of the aging brain, as a means to understand the underlying pathology that leads to diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.

The Kretzschmar Lab uses Drosophila to study basic mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Currently, the research team is focusing on two projects. One is the characterization of the swiss cheese mutant, which shows progressive degeneration of the adult nervous system. The other project focuses on the function of Amyloid Precursor Proteins, which are key factors in Alzheimer’s Disease.

We appreciate the important work and diversity of our basic science researchers! Learn more about Occupational Health Sciences research directions.