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Brewster Lab

Brewster lab: laser tagging aficionados!

Brewster lab: laser tagging aficionados!

Principle investigator
Rachel Brewster

Lab manager 
Neus Sanchez-Alberola

Fish Technician
Patrick Ciccotto

Postdocs
Rebecca McFarland
Valerie Olmo

Graduate students
Sharlene Brown
Kate Cerra
Sama Lewis

Zebrafish embryo

Zebrafish embryo

Undergraduate students
Samira Afzali
Chris Ecker
Samantha Russell

Projects

Regulation of Microtubule Stability During Neurulation

Microtubule dynamics can be imaged in real time in the zebrafish embryo using a doublecortin-GFP transgenic line. The colored dots correspond to the tips of individual microtubules.

Microtubule dynamics can be imaged in real time in the zebrafish embryo using a doublecortin-GFP transgenic line. The colored dots correspond to the tips of individual microtubules.

Formation of the neural tube is mediated by polarized cell movements, the ability of neural cells to migrate in a directional manner. A major research project in the Brewster laboratory focuses on understanding the role of microtubules in polarized cell movement during neurulation. Regulation of microtubule stability is essential for this process, as genetic or pharmacological perturbation of microtubules prevents neural tube formation. We are currently investigating the molecular pathways that regulate microtubule stability and developing tools to image and quantify microtubule dynamics in real time in the zebrafish embryo.

Mechanisms Underlying Anoxia Tolerance

Hypoxychamber for generating anoxic water

Hypoxychamber for generating anoxic water

Zebrafish embryos are able to survive anoxia for up to 24 hours. We are investigating the mechanisms underlying this remarkable tolerance as they may provide important clues on adaptive mechanisms for conserving brain energy that may have therapeutic relevance. We are using forward and reverse genetic approaches to identify key players in anoxia tolerance.  Candidate genes currently being considered are AMPK and Hif1-alpha. We hypothesize that these and other to-be identified genes confer anoxia tolerance by functioning as switches that are turned by low oxygen/ATP and that decrease brain metabolism by shutting down cellular processes that are energy-demanding.

Current Members

Sharlene BrownSharlene Brown
Graduate Student: PhD Biological Sciences
Katherine CerraKatherine Cerra
Graduate Student: PhD Biological Sciences
Samala LewisSamala Lewis
Graduate Student

Rebecca McFarland
Postdoctoral Fellow

Valerie Olmo
Postdoctoral Fellow

Neus Sanchez-Alberola
Laboratory Manager and Research Scientist

Former Members

Kavita ChalasaniKavita Chalasani
Graduate Student
Kavita was a graduate student in the Brewster lab. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Cheng – Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA.

Pradeepa JayachandranPradeepa Jayachandran
Graduate Student
Pradeepa was a graduate student in the Brewster lab. She has now joined the laboratory of Sabine Ehrt to carry out her postdoctoral studies – Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY

Elim HongElim Hong
PhD
Elim was the second PhD student to join the Brewster laboratory. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr Marnie Halpern at the Carnegie Institute of Washington – Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Embryology, Baltimore, Maryland.

Michael HarringtonMichael Harrington
PhD
Michael Harrington was the first PhD student to join the Brewster laboratory. He carried out his postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Herman Höfte – Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin INRA, France.