Dr. Wei's Research
Dr. Wei’s group is interested in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases using a combination of molecular, genetic, biochemical and imaging approaches. Proteostasis maintenance is critical for neuronal functions due to the specialized structure and post-mitotic property of neurons. Disturbance in proteostasis leads to accumulation of misfolded proteins, a common theme in many neurodegenerative diseases. We are particularly interested in how protein misfolding affects neuronal functions at molecular levels. Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating fatal neurological disorder caused by a pathological expansion of CAG repeats in the huntingtin (htt) gene. Mutant Htt misfolds and forms protein aggregates. Using Huntington’s disease as a model to study protein misfolding, current efforts have been directed to investigate the molecular functions of huntingtin. Specifically, our lab focuses on the following research themes:
- What is the role of huntingtin in protein/organelle trafficking and how does mutant huntingtin interfere with it?
- What is the role of huntingtin in glial functions and how does mutant huntingtin affect glial functions?
- Proteostatic machinery in HD.
The other aspect of our ongoing research is to investigate neuroregeneration. We have a highly interdisciplinary team that combine both biomedical, mechanical engineering and neurobehavioral expertise to investigate peripheral neuron regeneration in response to different stimulations using a novel microfluidic platform.