Mollie Woodworth, S.B., S.B.
||Ph.D. candidate – Biological and Biomedical Sciences – Harvard University
||Massachusetts General Hospital- Main Campus
MGH-HMS Center for Nervous System Repair
50 Blossom Street, EDR-410
Boston, MA 02114
I joined the Macklis lab in summer 2007 as a Ph.D. student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program. I am interested in the way a limited repertoire of developmentally-expressed transcription factors can generate the amazing cellular diversity of the adult mammalian brain. Working in collaboration with Luciano Custo Greig, I have chosen to focus on one such transcription factor, identified in earlier work in the lab to be centrally important for the development of corticospinal motor neurons (CSMN) in the cortex; although this transcription factor is necessary for proper CSMN axon extension to the spinal cord, little is known about the specific molecular differentiation programs it executes. I am investigating the mechanisms by which this central regulator of CSMN differentiation acts alone and in concert with other genes to instruct specific aspects of CSMN development. I hope that by learning more about the normal development of CSMN, I will shed light on strategies to repair them in pathological states such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal cord injury.
I completed my undergraduate studies at MIT, and graduated in 2006 with bachelor's degrees in biology and in brain and cognitive sciences. As an undergraduate, I worked in Morgan Sheng’s lab, where I investigated the functions of several postsynaptic density proteins in hippocampal projection neurons.
- Hung AY, Futai K, Sala C, Valtschanoff J, Ryu J, Woodworth MA, Kidd F, Sung C, Miyakawa T, Bear M, Sheng M. “Smaller dendritic spines, weaker synaptic transmission, but enhanced spatial learning in mice lacking Shank1.” J Neurosci. 2008 28: 1697-1708.
- Hung AY, Sala C, Valtschanoff J, Ryu J, Burgoon M, Miyakawa T, Weinberg RJ, Bear MF, Sheng M. “Functional role of the Shank1 postsynaptic scaffold protein in synapse structure and learning and memory.” Society for Neuroscience conference, November 2005, program number 501.9.