Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease are a growing public health concern. The extended and devastating course of these diseases, the increasing patient population, and the lack of therapeutic options all contribute to this pressing public health crisis. Our lab studies the ways in which genetic and environmental factors alter fundamental cellular pathways to increase susceptibility or improve resilience to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. We are pursuing these scientific questions with the ultimate goal of identifying novel therapeutic or preventative mechanisms for neurodegenerative diseases. Our research combines techniques from biochemistry, genetic screening, and neurobiology in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived tissues.
Roxan Stephenson, PhD works on understanding how changes in cellular lipid metabolism influences the risk and/or resilience to Alzhiemer’s disease. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at Grambling State University and her doctoral studies at the University of Rochester under the supervision of Dr. Michael Welte before joining the Narayan Lab. Roxan is supported by an NIH Intramural Research Training Award and an NINDS Diversity Training Fellowship for her work in the lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Roxan enjoys nature walks and hiking during her spare time.
Zachary (Zach) March, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab studying ApoE structure and function. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied natural genetic variation of the protein-disaggregase Hsp104 with Jim Shorter. At Penn, he was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and the 2021 Saul Winegrad Award for outstanding dissertation in biochemistry.
Cassandra (Cassie) Small, BSc works on investigating the effects of APOE4 on endocytosis. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science in biochemistry at Chatham University under the supervision of Dr. Nataliya Myshakina. Before joining the Narayan Lab, Cassie completed a research internship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she conducted Parkinson's disease and NeuroAIDS research. Cassie is supported by an intramural research training award for her work in the lab as a Post-baccalaureate Fellow. Cassie loves meeting new people through soccer, knitting things for friends, and stand-up comedy.
Linling (Lily) Cheng, BSc works on using iPSC-derived neural cell types models to study the effects of APOE on metabolism and Alzheimer’s disease pathology. She completed her bachelors with a major in Microbiology at the University of Michigan before joining the Narayan Lab. Lily is supported by an NIH Intramural Research Training Award for her work in the lab as a Post-baccalaureate Fellow. She likes to eat and explore restaurants.
Linda Yang, MSc, MBE is a life science researcher who is also engaged in the bioethics of CRISPR-edited cell systems and scientific public engagement. In the Narayan Lab, she is our scientific manager. She received her BSc in molecular biology and biochemistry from Simon Fraser University and her MSc in life sciences from Kyoto University. Her research has primarily focused on elucidating the role of DNA damage and epigenetic marks in chromatin biology.
Selected publications are below, for full list see Google Scholar.
- Sienski, G.*, Narayan, P.*, Bonner, J.M.*, Kory, N., Boland, S., Arczewska, A.A., Ralvenius, W.T., Akay., L.A., Lockshin, E., He, L., Milo, B., Graziosi, A., Baru, V., Lewis, C.A., Kellis, M. Sabatini, D.M., Tsai., L-H., Lindquist, S., APOE4 disrupts intracellular lipid homeostasis, Science Translational Medicine (2021) pdf
- Narayan, P.*, Sienski, G.*, Lin, Y-T., Seo, J., Bonner, J.M., Baru, V., Haque, A., Milo, B., Akay, L.A., Graziosi, A., Freyzon, Y., Landgraf, D., Hesse, W.R., Valastyan, J., Barrasa, M.I., Tsai., L-H., Lindquist, S., PICALM rescues endocytic defects caused by APOE4, Cell Reports (2020) pdf
- Ganzinger, K.A.*, Narayan, P.*, Qamar, S.S., Weimann, L., Ranasinghe, R.T., Aguzzi, A., Dobson, C.M., McColl, J., St George-Hyslop, P., Klenerman, D., Single-molecule imaging reveals that small amyloid-β1–42 oligomers interact with the cellular prion protein (PrPC), ChemBioChem (2014) pdf
- Narayan, P.*, Ehsani, S.*, Lindquist, S. Combating neurodegenerative disease using chemical probes and model systems. Nature Chemical Biology (2014) pdf
- Narayan, P.*, Holmstrom, K.M.*, Kim, D.H., Whitcomb, D.J., Wilson, M.R., Wood, N.W., Dobson, C.M., Cho, K., Abramov, A.Y., Klenerman, D., Rare individual amyloid-β oligomers act on astrocytes to initiate neuronal damage, Biochemistry (2014) pdf
- Narayan, P.*, Ganzinger, K.A.*, McColl, J.T., Qamar, S., St. George-Hyslop, P.G., Dobson C.,M., Klenerman, D., Single molecule imaging of the interaction between amyloid-β peptides and the membranes of hippocampal cells, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2013) pdf
- Narayan, P., Orte, A., Clarke, R.W., Bolognesi, B., Hook, S., Ganzinger, K.A., Meehan, S., Wilson, M.R., Dobson, C.M., Klenerman, D., The extracellular chaperone clusterin sequesters oligomeric forms of the Alzheimer’s disease-associated Aβ1-40 peptide, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (2012) pdf
- Narayan, P., Meehan, S., Carver, J.A., Wilson, M.R., Dobson, C.M., Klenerman, D., Amyloid-β oligomers are sequestered by both intracellular and extracellular chaperones, Biochemistry (2012) pdf