Project ALS Family
Estela Area Gomez, PhD, & Alejandro Garcia-Diaz
Assistant Professor of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center; Graduate Student, Columbia University
Estela: Project ALS is funding my lab to establish new line of research based on the role of Mitochondria-associated membranes in the progression of ALS. We believe that mutations in ALS genes can cause an early alterations in a compartment of the cell called Mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM). This alteration in MAM results in mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic alterations such as the deregulation of lipid homeostasis observed in the progression of ALS.
Alejandro: I worked at the Jenifer Estess Laboratory for Stem Cell Research from 2009 through 2013, designing cell type-specific lentiviral vectors for motor neurons. I was also involved in differentiation of hESCs and iPSCs to motor neurons and other cell types. I currently work at the Genome Editing section of the Stem Cell Core at Columbia University. I am also a graduate student at Columbia University in the Master's of Biotechnology program. As part of the program, along with Joe Sista, David Peprah, Liguo Zhang and Fangzhou Yu, I am writing a report on Personalized Medicine with a focus on ALS, and, more particularly, Project ALS as a pioneer in this field (it cannot get more personalized than using motor neurons derived from patients to study drug compounds!). The idea is to find out the gaps between what it is being offered in terms of Personalized Medicine to ALS patients, and what is being done at a basic research level.