Dr. Baljit Khakh has been named an Allen Institute Distinguished investigator.
Dr. Khakh and his laboratory team will study the suite of genes each astrocyte turns on or off, cell by cell, in an attempt to dispel the myth that all astrocytes are created equal. They will ask how astrocytes influence nearby neuron activity using novel methods created in the Khakh lab.
Finally they will apply these concepts and tools to determine how astrocyte activity is altered in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, which affects more than 3 million people every year in the U.S. alone.
Dr. Tamir Gonen, an electron crystallography expert at UCLA, teamed up with colleagues, along with Brian Stoltz at Caltech, to see whether the Gonen lab’s electron microscopy imaging methods would work with smaller organic molecules. On the chemistry preprint server ChemRxiv, the California team reported it worked nearly every time, delivering a resolution on par with x-ray crystallography. What’s more, a collaboration of German and Swiss groups independently published similar results using essentially the same technique this week. Scientists say the new technique could revolutionize fields both inside and outside of research.
You can read the Department's 2018 accomplishments in the PDF:
2018 Department of Physiology Highlights
"The other half. Adventures in glial biology”
- Bal Khakh, Ph.D.
“Assessment of astrocyte alterations in Huntington's disease through transcriptional profiling”
- Blanca Diaz Castro, Ph.D. (Khakh Lab)