- Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
I am interested in characterizing synaptic molecules that control neuronal circuit formation and using them as therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative disorders. During my PhD work at Harvard University I focused on disseminating the effects of alpha-synuclein, a synaptic protein involved in neurodegenerative disorders, in the remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and mitochondrial function. In my postdoctoral training in the Nedivi lab, I will investigate the underlying molecular changes that occur during synaptic plasticity and their consequences on circuit remodeling.
Prior work from the lab revealed that CPG15 knockdown reduces recruitment of the postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD95) to newly formed dendritic spines of pyramidal neurons, thus reducing spine stabilization (Subramanian, et al. 2019). This finding is mechanistically puzzling given that CPG15 is extracellular while PSD95 is intracellular, and neither protein possesses a transmembrane domain. Thus, current efforts in the lab involve studying glutamatergic ion channels and transmembrane auxiliary proteins (TARPs) as potential molecular targets of CPG15-mediated PSD95 recruitment. With the power of combined biochemical and live-cell imaging approaches, I hope to be able to shed light on the timing and sequence of events that control synapse formation and maturation.
- α-synuclein induces mitochondrial dysfunction through spectrin and the actin cytoskeleton. Ordonez DG, Lee MK, Feany MB. Neuron 2018. 97:108-124.
- Lrrk promotes tau neurotoxicity through dysregulation of actin and mitochondrial dynamics. Bardai FH, Ordonez DG, Bailey RM, Hamm M, Lewis L, Feany MB. PLoS Biology 2018. 16(12):e2006265.
- Methamphetamine induces low levels of neurogenesis in striatal neuron subpopulations and differential motor performance. Tulloch I, Afanador L, Baker L, Ordonez D, Payne H, Mexhitaj I, Olivares E, Chowdhury A, Angulo JA. Neurotox Res 2014. 26(2):115-129.
- The role of the neuropeptide somatostatin on methamphetamine and glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in the striatum of mice. Afanador L, Mexhitaj I, Diaz C, Ordonez D, Baker L, Angulo JA. Brain Research 2013. 1510:38-47.
- Role of neurokinin-1 and dopamine receptors on the striatal methamphetamine-induced proliferation of new cells in mice. Tulloch I, Ghazaryan N, Mexhitaj I, Ordonez D, Angulo JA. Brain Research 2011. 1399: 33-39.