Inhibiting Axon Degeneration in Avian Neurons – Abstract

Hello! My name is Samantha Collins and I am a rising senior at the College. I’m a Biology major and a Public Health minor and I’m planning to go to medical school after taking a gap year. My project is a continuation of what I have been learning in Dr. Buchser’s lab about neuronal degeneration.

Wallerian degeneration is axonal breakdown following injury to the axon and it occurs in most neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s, and in traumatic brain injury. The axonal breakdown after these events is what leads to consequences like memory loss, vision loss, and paralysis. A protein called SARM mediates the signaling pathway that induces degeneration after injury.

This summer, I will investigate whether SARM inhibition via gene editing with a lentivirus vector can protect avian retinal ganglion cell axons from degeneration after axotomy. I also aim to find out whether SARM knockout in zebra finches can protect them from degeneration caused by axonal injury.

Thanks for checking in with my blog. I’m looking forward to sharing more as the summer begins! Until then, back to studying for finals.