Christy Willoughby

Ph.D. 2015

E-mail: willo047@umn.edu

Thesis Title:

Neurotrophic factor treatment to extraocular muscle (EOM) changes motor neuron properties

Current Position:

Data Scientist, Tubi TV

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

Drake University, B.S., Neuroscience, Psychology, 2004

Major Advisor(s):

Linda McLoon, Ph.D.

Research Description:

Strabismus and Infantile nystagmus are two disorders often caused by central nervous system dysinnervation of the extraocular muscles in the orbit. In young children, there is a critical period where normal binocular eye function must be returned, or amblyopia can occur. The long-term goal is to develop a pharmacologic strategy to treat oculomotor movement disorders of the eyes.  I am investigating if muscle force can increase after treatment with various growth factors and ascertain if there are changes in motor neuron function within the CNS. 

Lab Rotations:

  • Karen Mesce
  • Teresa Nick
  • Michael Georgieff
  • Linda Mcloon

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • MICA 8320 - Neurostatistics
  • PHM 8481 - Advanced Neuropharmaceutics
  • PHM 8120 - Readings in CNS Drug Delivery
  • BIOC 8002 - Molecular Biology
  • NSC 5202 - Theoretical Neuroscience

Conferences Attended and Presentations:

Conferences Attended:

  • Society for Neuroscience anual meeting- Fall 2009
  • Gordon Research Conference on Eye Movements - Summer 2011

Committee Members:

  • Paul Letourneau
  • Mike Mustari
  • Teresa Nick
  • Martin Wessendorf

Selected Publications and Presentations:

Publications:

  • McLoon LK, Willoughby CL, Anderson JS, Bothun ED, Stager D Jr, Felius J, Lee H, Gottlob I. Abnormally Small Neuromuscular Junctions in the Extraocular Muscles From Subjects With Idiopathic Nystagmus and Nystagmus Associated With Albinism. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 Apr 1;57(4):1912-20.
  • Willoughby CL, Fleuriet J, Walton MM, Mustari MJ, McLoon LK. Adaptability of the Immature Ocular Motor Control System: Unilateral IGF-1 Medial Rectus Treatment. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Jun;56(6):3484-96.
  • Willoughby CL, Fleuriet J, Walton MM, Mustari MJ, McLoon LK. Adaptation of slow myofibers: the effect of sustained BDNF treatment of extraocular muscles in infant nonhuman primates. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Jun;56(6):3467-83.
  • Walton MM, Mustari MJ, Willoughby CL, McLoon LK. Abnormal activity of neurons in abducens nucleus of strabismic monkeys. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Nov 20;56(1):10-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-15360.
  • Willoughby CL, Christiansen SP, Mustari MJ, McLoon LK. Effects of the sustained release of IGF-1 on extraocular muscle of the infant non-human primate: Adaptations at the effector organ level. PMCID: PMC3292383. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis Sci. 53: 68-75, 2012.
  • McLoon LK, Willoughby CL, Andrade FH. Extraocular Muscles: Structure and Function. In: Craniofacial Muscles: A New Framework for Understanding the Effector Side of Craniofacial Muscles. Eds: LK McLoon, F Andrade. Springer, 2012, in press.
  • Hebert SL, Willoughby CL, Andrade FH, McLoon LK. Mastictory Muscles:
    Response to Neuromuscular Diseases and Specific Pathologies . In:
    Craniofacial Muscles: A New Framework for Understanding the Effector Side of Craniofacial Muscles. Eds: LK McLoon, F Andrade. Springer, 2012, in press.
  • Willoughby CL, Christiansen SP, Mustari MJ, and McLoon LK, 2012, “Effects of sustained release of IGF-1 on extraocular muscle of the non-human primate: Adaptations at the effector organ level,” Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci., 53:68-75.
  • Willoughby CL, Ralles S, Christiansen SP,  and McLoon LK, 2012, "Effects of sequential injections of hepatocyte growth factor and insulin-like growth factor-1 on adult rabbit extraocular muscle,"  J AAPOS, 16(4):354-60.

Invited Talks:

  • Willoughby CL, Christiansen SP, Mustari MJ, McLoon LK, 2011, "Effect of Sustained Release IGF-1 on Extraocular Muscle of the Non-Human Primate: Adaptations at the Effector Organ Level," Young Investigator Talk, Gordon research Conference on Eye Movements, Biddeford MN.

Awards and Honors:

  • National Eye Institute of the NIH, Plexon and Blackrock Travel
    Fellowship, 2011
  • Young Investigator Talk, Gorgon Conference on Eye Movements, 2011

Home Town:

  • Overland Park, Kansas
Christy Willoughby