Megan Krench, 2011-Present, Thesis: Synaptic dysfunction in a Drosophila model of Huntington's disease, In Progress

B.S., 2009, Penn State University

I'm interested in the molecular mechanisms of Huntington's disease. Huntington's disease is an inherited neurodegenerative disease that affects around 1 in 10,000 individuals, with no cure or treatment to slow the progression of the disease. Our lab has created a transgenic model of Huntington's disease by taking a fragment of the mutant human htt gene and inserting into the genome of Drosophila. These flies have motor dysfunctions and a reduced lifespan. 

I'm taking an unbiased, forward genetics approach to investigate why mutant htt kills neurons. I'm using RNA interference to individually knock down expression of about 700 genes in vivo. If the flies become healthier when a particular gene is knocked down, then that gene may play a key role in the toxicity of mutant htt. This project could eventually identify new therapeutic targets for Huntington's disease treatment. 

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