By Mari Hoffman, Genetics and Genomics ‘21 Author’s Note: I chose to interview Dr.LaSalle because of my interest in epigenetics and the relationship that our genes have with environmental interactions. Dr. LaSalle’s lab focuses on the role of epigenetics in the human autism-spectrum and many other neurodegenerative disorders. Her research group looks at the pathogenesis of the disorders by focusing on heritable changes that are not encoded in the DNA, such as DNA methylation and imprinted genes. It was an honor to get to talk to Dr. LaSalle about her research, as she is extremely passionate about this very complex and exciting topic.
By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology ’15 SV2A is a synaptic vesicle protein, which participates in the regulation of neurotransmitter release in humans. SV2A is expressed in neurons and endocrine cells. The exact function of SV2A is still unknown, but it has been identified that SV2A is the binding site for the antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam. Levetiracetam reduces presynaptic glutamate release, especially in neurons with high frequency firing. Abnormally enhanced glutamatergic neurotransmission with high frequency neural firing is found in epilepsy and several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.