The Ashrafi lab uses genetic, biochemical, and quantitative optical imaging techniques to study metabolic regulation of neurotransmission. The brain is the most energy consuming organ of the body and is highly sensitive to energetic perturbations. A significant fraction of this energy is consumed at nerve terminals for neurotransmission. However, regulatory mechanism that modulate energy metabolism at nerve terminals are poorly understood. The overall goal of the lab is to uncover novel molecular regulators of glycolysis and mitochondrial metabolism and elucidate their role in axonal degeneration and neurodegenerative disease. To this end, we use state-of-the-art optical indicators for ATP and other metabolites and monitor synaptic activity in single synapses to gain quantitative insight into presynaptic metabolic regulation.
- BSc: University of Alberta, 2009, Cell Biology
- PhD: Harvard University, 2014, Biochemistry
- Postdoc: Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 2014-2019, Neurobiology
Graduate & Fellowship Program Affiliations
McDonnell Sciences Building (MS: 8228-0012-05)
Neurotransmission | Neurometabolism | Glycolysis | Mitochondrial Function | Synaptic Imaging | Neurodegeneration | Epilepsy
The overarching goal of the Ashrafi lab is to interrogate the metabolic regulation of synaptic transmission. We combine state-of-the-art imaging of single synapses with proteomic and genomic analysis to determine how metabolic pathways are regulated in the nervous system. We also investigate the dysregulation of mitochondrial and glycolytic energy metabolism in a variety of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy