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More about Michelle Steinhilb

  • B.S., Wayne State University, 1996
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2002
  • Postdoc., Harvard Medical School, 2002-2006
  • Genetic Models of Human Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Current research projects

Research in my lab focuses on understanding the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease using the powerful molecular and genetic tools available in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly). Alzheimer’s disease belongs to a group of related disorders known as “tauopathies” whose common pathology involves tau, a microtubule-associated protein that is highly abundant in neurons. Normally, tau physically interacts with microtubules to help cells maintain their shape and transport critical substances to cellular locations where they are needed. Alzheimer’s disease conditions, however, lead to a breakdown of normal tau function. To investigate the role of tau in disease, our lab uses several approaches, including Drosophila genetics, tissue culture, molecular biology, biochemistry, and microscopy. We hope to ultimately learn more about the underlying causes of tau toxicity in order to help others to develop new treatment strategies to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Courses Taught

  • Genetics
  • Biotechnology
  • Neuroscience