Alexander Blythe

AMP Student

Anticipated AMP Graduation Date:  Spring 2022

Bachelor's Degree: B.S. in Biochemistry and B.S. in Molecular & Cellular Biology, University of Arizona, 2021

Research PI: Daniela C. Zarnescu, Molecular and Cellular Biology Department

Research Topic:   

I am currently studying amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) with an emphasis on a specific RNA-binding protein, TDP-43, in the laboratory of Dr. Daniela Zarnescu. About 97% of ALS cases demonstrate TDP-43 proteinopathy and my research focuses on the effects of TDP-43 on translational inhibition of certain mRNAs and on endomembrane trafficking defects within motor neurons using a Drosophila (fruit fly) model of ALS. Continuing off a recently published paper about Dally-like protein (Dlp), a Drosophila synaptic membrane protein that is dysregulated as a consequence of TDP-43 proteinopathy, I hope to investigate potential protein/RNA localization and translation abnormalities which could assist in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying ALS-related neurodegeneration.

What do you like to do outside of the lab?     

Outside of the lab I like to read (mostly science fiction) and hike.               

Honors and Awards 

I graduated with Honors and received the Silver Award for graduating with a 4.0 GPA. I also received a Galileo Circle Scholarship and the Lela E. Booher Memorial Scholarship in my Junior year. I was a participant in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) at the University of Arizona for several years and received the Margaret Bilson Fellowship in 2019.                                            

Why did you choose to enter the MCB AMP Program?  

I wanted to take the opportunity to lead my own project and explore the sort of work and responsibilities I would have if I enrolled in a full PhD program.