Biology Undergraduate Studies Cellular Causes of Neurodegenerative Disease

wayne robinsonWayne Robinson is a junior with FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Jupiter and majoring in neuroscience and behavior. Since joining the laboratory of Tanja Godenschwege, Ph.D., Robinson has mastered skills in molecular biology and imaging to investigate the cellular causes of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. His research is currently under review and will be published soon. Robinson says he aspires to attend graduate school and ultimately have a lab of his own that encourages young scientists while making discoveries that enhance our world.

The Godenschwege laboratory uses Drosophila melanogaster as a model to understand brain development, function and maintenance. In the nervous system the function and signaling mechanisms of many genes are evolutionarily conserved from flies to humans. We use anatomical, electrophysiological, molecular and genetic tools as well as live imaging of axonal transport to characterize disease-associated genes at cellular and organism level to determine how they contribute to developmental processes and neuronal survival. Currently in the lab we are characterizing several conserved genes such as APP/APPL, L1-CAM/Neuroglian and attractin/Dsd. These genes are of relevance to a variety of neurological disorders and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, regeneration and degeneration, cancer, and aging.