Debomoy Lahiri, PhD
Dr. Lahiri has been working on the projects related to the origin and biogenesis of the Alzheimer's amyloid plaque, and the general areas of gene regulation of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Presently, he is involved in two projects: one studying the transcriptional control of the gene encoding the beta-amyloid precursor protein to determine its role in the pathogenesis of AD, and other studying the translational and post-translational processing of beta-amyloid precursor protein and other neuronal proteins (such as synaptophysin, tau) in the presence of various cholinergic agents using the cell culture as a model system. Understanding this process has direct relevance for therapy of AD and might suggest the possibility that cholinergic agents might regulate the cellular processing of beta-amyloid precursor protein, thereby controlling the process of amyloidogenesis. He is also involved with Dr. John Nurnberger, Jr. in determining the role of G-proteins (alpha-subunit) in bipolar affective disorder. He plans to complement his interest of neurodegeneration with that of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Apoptosis influences early development and later refinement in adult tissues. Specially, he is examining the hypothesis that neuronal apoptosis results from the activation of an endogenous genetic program in an in vitro model of naturally occurring neuronal death. His model system is based on characterizing the expression of neuronal genes in sympathetic neurons which undergo programmed cell death after deprivation of nerve growth factor.