Andrew (Drew) Love
Drew, a junior studying Biology and double minoring in Biochemistry and Spanish studies at the University of San Francisco, defined the aspects of disease-state microglia in neurodegenerative models.
Single-cell transcriptomic studies reveal diverse microglial states in human and mouse brains, health, and diseases. Before I came to BSRP this summer, I had just had an experience in a class that had challenged me, but other aspects of the class left me very unsure of my ability to succeed in the life sciences. I was nervous coming into basic science research, another thing I had never done before, and I wasn’t sure of my ability to succeed. This program and, more importantly, my mentors and the BSRP staff have taught me so much about my ability to surpass my expectations of myself when I truly trust in the aspects of my character and competence that exist within me. I trust that I have the potential and the ability to achieve my personal and professional goals. Thank you to Broad for lifting me to levels I didn’t know I could reach. Yet, we know little about the underlying biology or how the various disease states of these cells contribute to pathogenesis. The first step in understanding their role is identifying when and where they arise in the brain. To do so, we will use immunohistochemistry and in situ FISH hybridization to determine where in the brain disease-associated signatures appear in various induced inflammation, Alzheimer's, ALS, and high-fat diet mouse models. This work revealed trends in locational specificity for microglial states in different brain regions. Using those regions of interest, transcriptional and functional similarities and differences were identified across pathologies. Microglia tend to vary gene expression in response to diet and biological sex, while physical changes in morphology remain to be further elucidated using quantitative methods verified in this project. This type of characterization, especially the quantitative characterization of these differences, is essential to understanding the role of microglia in disease and a first step to modulating them to delay disease progression.
Project: Defining the Aspects of Disease State Microglia in Neurodegenerative Models
Mentors: Martine Therrien & Emma Connolly
PI: Stevens Lab, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research