Overview of Interests
The Bowman lab utilizes a combined approach of molecular genetics, pharmacology, biochemistry, cell and developmental biology to understand the role of gene-environment interactions between metal exposure and neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease (HD), Parkinson's disease (PD) as well as other neurological conditions including restless legs syndrome. He employs a diverse range of model systems including patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), neuronal cultures and mouse models. He aims to define mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction and understand the basis of selective neuropathology, by characterizing the molecular function of disease genes and their interaction with environmental toxicants under both normal and pathological conditions. His lab has established protocols to generate iPSC lines and differentiate them down forebrain, striatal and midbrain neural lineages. He has developed techniques to examine toxicological and neurodegenerative related phenotypes in this patient-specific model system. In addition, the lab uses high-throughput screening to identify and characterize small molecule modifiers of cellular manganese status. Recently, the labs work has implicated specific cellular signaling systems (e.g. p53, AKT, mTOR pathways) underlying the influence of manganese on energetics and cellular metabolism in the context of the neurological diseases we study. The long-term goals of the Bowman lab are to determine patient-specific and disease-specific toxicant vulnerabilities, understand the cellular pathways underlying these gene-environment interactions and develop neuroprotective strategies to mitigate neurological diseases with environmental etiologies, especially manganese.
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