Priya Prakash

Priya Prakash Profile Picture

Microglial phagocytosis in neurodegeneration

Contact Info:

prakashp@purdue.edu

Training Group(s):
Chemical Biology

Current Research Interests:

Microglia are the resident-immune cells of the brain that respond to pathogens and injury by clearing cell debris, damaged neurons, and misfolded proteins from their microenvironment by the process of phagocytosis. Microglial phagocytosis is essential for the maintenance of brain homeostasis throughout an individual’s lifespan. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the phagocytosis of misfolded proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) are not well understood. My thesis addresses these challenges with the following specific aims: Aim 1 – Development and functional validation of pH-sensitive fluorophore conjugated peptide sensors to investigate microglial phagocytosis. Aim 2: Identification and characterization of immune checkpoint targets for microglial phagocytosis using single-cell RNA sequencing. Aim 3: Combination drug repurposing for the synergistic effects of enhanced microglial phagocytosis and reduced neurotoxicity for the treatment of NDs. Immunotherapy is a promising area, where, selectively modulating microglial phagocytosis may be used as a therapeutic strategy for NDs.

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