Lab Member News

Congratulations to the Miller Lab members below on their recent publications!

Mariah L. Hoye, PhD candidate

Mariah L. Hoye is a PhD candidate who is studying microRNAs, which are small compounds that regulate a variety of processes in the body, and their role in ALS disease progression. Her manuscript that investigates microRNAs specific to motor neurons in ALS rodent models was recently accepted for publication by The Journal of Neuroscience.

“We identified small biomolecules that are abundant in motor neurons, the cells that are most affected in ALS,” Mariah explains. “When motor neurons die in ALS, they release these molecules and we can measure them in cerebral spinal fluid of ALS rodents. The release of these molecules tracks with disease progression and can be halted by a familial ALS drug (currently in clinical trials). We are now trying to measure this motor neuron marker in human ALS patient cerebral spinal fluid.”

Kathleen Schoch, PhD

Dr. Kathleen Schoch is a postdoctoral research assistant in the Miller Lab who focuses on dementias characterized by the pathological accumulation of the protein “tau”. Last year, she published a paper in Neuron that examined the potential of a unique tau-lowering therapeutic strategy to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and another of Dr. Schoch’s papers was recently accepted for publication in Neuron as well. This new publication highlights the clinical strides that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) have made toward treating neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS and Alzheimer’s disease.

“We’re enthusiastic about the progress ASOs have made and how they continue to develop,” Dr. Schoch states. “Notably, the ASO Spinraza (nusinersen) recently achieved FDA approval for the treatment of the devastating childhood disease, spinal muscular atrophy. Successes like these help to motivate my own research toward developing a treatment for tau-related dementias.”

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