Meng Meng Fu, Ph.D.

Headshot of Dr. Meng Meng Fu

Meng Meng Fu, Ph.D.

Statdman Investigator
Address
Glial Cell Biology Unit

BG 35 RM 3D-933
35 CONVENT DR
BETHESDA MD 20814

Dr. Fu received her B.S. in biology from the California Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania. At UPenn, Dr. Fu joined the lab of Erika Holzbaur, where she worked on mechanisms of axonal transport regulation by adapter proteins that link cargos to motors. She published two first-author papers in the Journal of Cell Biology and Developmental Cell on the role of the adapter protein JIP1 in regulating APP (amyloid precursor protein) vesicle transport and autophagosome transport. She received the Saul Winegrad Prize for Outstanding Thesis in Neuroscience and a F31 NRSA predoctoral fellowship.

Dr. Fu moved to Stanford University to join the lab of Ben Barres for her postdoctoral training. She worked on mechanisms of microtubule organization and mRNA transport in oligodendrocytes and published first-author papers in Cell and PNAS. She received the ASCB (American Society for Cell Biology) Porter Prize for Research Excellence, a postdoctoral fellowship from NMSS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society), and a F32 NRSA postdoctoral fellowship.

Dr. Fu joined NINDS as a tenure-track investigator in Fall 2020, where her lab focuses on studying the cell biology of oligodendrocytes using interdisciplinary techniques with the goal to better understand normal myelin development, and demyelinating and neurodegenerative diseases.

The lab goal is to understand glial function at the animal, cell, and molecular level in order to elucidate mechanisms of normal development and disease progression.

The main research focus includes:

  • The role of Golgi outposts in acentrosomal microtubule nucleation in oligodendrocytes.  The lab is investigating partner proteins that work in concert with the microtubule nucleator TPPP to organize microtubules. In addition, they are making important observations on the biophysical properties of TPPP and how this can lead to aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Mechanisms of mRNA transport in oligodendrocytes. The lab is using mouse models to understand the importance of mRNA transport in in vivo myelination. They are also using biochemical and biophysical techniques to identify the molecular players involved in these transport processes.

New topics of interest  include: mechanisms of leukodystrophies (myelination diseases affecting children), and cytoskeletal organization of astrocytes and microglia.

 

Photo of Shahranaz Kermal

Shahrnaz Kemal, Ph.D.
Research Fellow

Shahrnaz attended Mt Holyoke College for her undergrad
in Biochemistry, then worked for a couple of years at The
Rockefeller University before moving on to grad school at
Columbia University, where she focused on the role of motor
proteins in brain development in Richard Vallee’s lab. She did
her postdoc at Northwestern University in Bob Vassar’s lab,
studying cellular and molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s
Disease in mouse models. She received the BrightFocus
Foundation Postdoctoral Followship. In the Fu Lab, Shahrnaz
wants to further explore the impact of amyloid and tau on the
glial and neuronal cytoskeleton, and understand how the pathogenic
forms of these proteins influence oligodendrocyte-specific
processes that may be altered in disease states. Along with
her research interests, Shahrnaz enjoys teaching and is involved
in STEM higher education. She also has a long list of writing-related
side projects (science, history, comedy) and loves cooking.

Photo of Eric Dyne

Eric Dyne, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow

Eric received his bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and a Ph.D.
in Biomedical Sciences from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio,
where he was the recipient of the Margolis Award in Physiology
and two Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards. He joined the
laboratory as a postdoc in April 2021 where he is investigating
Mbp mRNA transport and local translation in oligodendrocytes.
Eric has a long-time fascination with neurodegenerative diseases
and glial cells. In the Fu Lab, he hopes to gain a better understanding of oligodendrocyte function as well as to learn to develop RNA-based
therapeutics. Outside of doing research, he enjoys the piano, the
outdoors, and drinking a copious amount of coffee.

Photo of Joan Reger

Joan Reger
Individual GPP Student

Joan is a Biology Ph.D. candidate at Georgetown University who is
currently working on a project examining the influence of TPPP on
protein aggregation under the co-mentorship of Drs. Meng-meng Fu
and Jeffrey Huang. Joan has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Emory
University. As an undergraduate, she worked in the Wilkinson Lab where

she investigated how PTMs of cytoskeleton-associated proteins influence
yeast prion induction. She also completed a summer research project in
the Eisenberg Lab at UCLA that examined the structural biology of TDP-43
aggregation. Outside of the lab, she is passionate about teaching and
educational outreach. She is the recipient of a Georgetown University
Graduate Student Teaching Award in Science and a GradGov Research
Project Award. She has also worked at the USDA in the Office of Public
Health Science and studied abroad at King’s College London. She loves
scary movies, sour candy, and late-night conversations.

Photo of Joseph Nowacki

Joseph Nowacki
Post-bac IRTA Fellow

Joseph earned his bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Behavior from
Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He joined the lab in January
2021 where he is investigating the role of myosins in Mbp mRNA transport
and local translation in oligodendrocytes. While with the Fu Lab, he plans
to develop his research skills in order to apply them to a career in medicine.
In his free time, he loves to cook and play rugby.

Photo of Hunter Richardson

Hunter Richardson
Post-bac IRTA Fellow

Hunter earned her bachelor’s degree in Biological Engineering from
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.
She is currently looking at TPPP and alpha synuclein aggregation
in multiple system atrophy brains. She is also learning many new
techniques in the Fu Lab that will be helpful for her future career
goals. In her free time she likes to bake, play video games, and take
care of her two cats and two dogs.

 

Research Papers:

Nguyen H, Meservey L, Ishiko-Silviera N, Zhou M, Huang TT, Fu MM (2020). Fear deficits in hypomyelinated Tppp knockout mice. eNeuro, 7(5): ENEURO.0170-20.2020.

 Fu MM [corresponding], McAlear T, Nguyen H, Oses-Prieto JA, Valenzuela A, Shi R, Perrino JJ, Huang TT, Burlingame AL, Bechstedt S, Barres BA (2019).  The Golgi outpost protein TPPP nucleates microtubules and is critical for myelination. Cell 179:132-146.

 Herbert AL, Fu MM [co-first, co-corresponding], Drerup CM, Gray RS, Harty BL, Ackerman SD, O’Reilly-Pol T, Johnson SL, Nechiporuk AV, Barres BA, Monk KR (2017). Dynein/dynactin is necessary for anterograde transport of Mbp mRNA in oligodendrocytes and for myelination in vivo. PNAS 114(43): E9153-E9162.

Fu MM, Nirschl JJ, Holzbaur EL (2014).  LC3 binding to the scaffolding protein JIP1 regulates processive dynein-driven transport of autophagosomes.  Dev. Cell 29(5):577-590.

 Fu MM, Holzbaur EL (2013).  JIP1 regulates the directionality of APP axonal transport by coordinating kinesin and dynein motors.  J. Cell Biol. 202(3):495-508. 

Reviews:

Meservey L, Topkar V, Fu MM (2021). mRNA transport and local translation in glia. Trends in Cell Biology, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcb.2021.03.006.

Valenzuela A, Meservey L, Nguyen H, Fu MM (2020). Golgi outposts nucleate microtubules in cells with specialized shapes. Trends in Cell Biology, 30(10):792-804.

 Weigel M, Wang L, Nguyen H, Valenzuela A, Fu MM (2020). Microtubule organization and dynamics in oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, and microglia. Developmental Neurobiology.   

  Fu MM, Holzbaur EL (2014).  Integrated regulation of motor-driven organelle transport by scaffolding proteins.  Trends Cell Biol., 24(10):564-574.