Melissa Asher

Entering Class - 2013

E-MAIL: asher024@umn.edu

UNDERGRAD INSTITUTION AND MAJOR
Michigan State University, B.S. in Genomics and Molecular Genetics, 2012

GRADUATE ADVISOR
Marija Cvetanovic, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

THESIS COMMITTEE MEMBERS

DESCRIPTION OF GRADUATE RESEARCH
Our lab studies the roles of diverse cell types in the neurodegenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1). We have found that loss of function of atxn1, the gene that is mutated in SCA1, reduces the proliferation of neural stem cells in the hippocampus. My project focuses on finding the molecular mechanisms by which atxn1 affects cell proliferation and investigating whether reduced neurogenesis is responsible for the hippocampal memory deficits seen in mice lacking atxn1.

RESEARCH AREAS

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases and Neural Injury
  • Neurogenetics
  • Regenerative Medicine for Neural Systems

ROTATIONS

PROFESSIONAL OUTREACH

  • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, 2013-2015
  • State Fair Brain Booth Presenter, 2014
  • Presenter at a Social Science event at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Oct. 1, 2015

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

  • Asher M, Johnson A, Zecevic B, Pease D, Cvetanovic M. Related Articles Ataxin-1 regulates proliferation of hippocampal neural precursors. Neuroscience. 2016 Feb 11;322:54-65.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE MN?
I liked the strong sense of community among the students and also felt that there was a good selection of faculty with whom to rotate.

Melissa Asher