Claire Harwell

Claire Harwell

University position

PhD student
Supervised by Dr Michael Coleman

Institutes

Babraham Institute

Email

claire.harwell@babraham.ac.uk

Research Theme

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Interests

My principle research area is investigation of the relationship between Tau and Aß (the two proteins that form pathological aggregates in the brains of Alzheimer's patients) and their influence on axonal transport in Alzheimer's Disease. Axonal transport is the movement of organelles (such as mitochondria) or proteins (such as the laboile axon survival factor nmnat2) from the cell body to the distal neurite (or vice versa). Neurons are the most polarised of all cells, axons being in excess of 100 x longer than their cell body, and so are especially reliant on an efficient delivery system. We hypothesise, that mutliple disruptions of axon transport in Alzheimer's disease, coinciding with a decline in axon transport with age, may underly the extensive neurodegeneration seen in this disorder. By understanding how such effects are brought about, we hope to identify novel therapeutic targets.

Above: Neurite with fluorescently labelled mitochondria. Below: Kymograph depicting movement of mitochondria in theis neurite over time. The Y axis represents time, the X axis represents distance along the neurite. Vertical lines mean the mitochondria has remained stationary, whilst diagonal lines show moving particles. These kymographs allow objective quantification of axon transport parameters.
Above: Neurite with fluorescently labelled mitochondria. Below: Kymograph depicting movement of mitochondria in theis neurite over time. The Y axis represents time, the X axis represents distance along the neurite. Vertical lines mean the mitochondria has remained stationary, whilst diagonal lines show moving particles. These kymographs allow objective quantification of axon transport parameters.
View image full-size (1172x434 pixels)

Research Focus

Keywords

Alzheimer's

Axonal Transport

Tau

Wallerian Degeneration

Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease

Dementia

Frontotemporal Dementia

Equipment

Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

ELISA

Fluorescence microscopy

Live imaging of axonal transport