Killam Seminar Series: mTOR Signaling and Cholesterol Biosynthesis define Oligodendroglial Heterogeneity between Brain and Spinal Cord

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 16:00to17:00

The Killam Seminar Series presents "mTOR Signaling and Cholesterol Biosynthesis define Oligodendroglial Heterogeneity between Brain and Spinal Cord"

The seminar will be taking place in person at The Neuro (De Grandpre Communications Center)

To attend in person, register here.

To attend virtually, register here.

Speaker: Teresa (Terri) Wood, PhD

Distinguished Professor and Rena Warshow Endowed Chair in Multiple Sclerosis

Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience and Center for Cell Signaling

New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University, USA

Abstract: Brain and spinal cord oligodendroglia have distinct functional characteristics, and cell-autonomous loss of individual genes such as the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) result in different regional phenotypes. However, a molecular basis for these distinctions is unknown. I will present our findings using single-cell analysis of oligodendroglia during developmental myelination demonstrating that brain and spinal cord precursors are transcriptionally distinct, defined predominantly by cholesterol biosynthesis. We further identified mTOR as a major regulator promoting cholesterol biosynthesis in oligodendroglia. mTOR loss in spinal cord oligodendroglia has a greater impact on cholesterol biosynthesis, consistent with more pronounced deficits in developmental myelination. In the brain, mTOR loss results in a later adult myelin deficit, including oligodendrocyte death, spontaneous demyelination, and impaired axonal function, demonstrating that mTOR is required for myelin maintenance in the adult brain. I will also present data on functions for upstream (TSC) and downstream (p70S6K) mediators of mTOR signaling in developmental myelination and adult myelin maintenance.

Bio: Dr. Wood is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience at NJMS. She holds the Rena Warshow Endowed Chair in Multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Wood is a 1978 graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Neurobiology in 1987 at UCLA followed by post-doctoral studies first at the State University of New York (Stony Brook), in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior and then at Columbia University, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. Her academic career includes 12 years on the faculty of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. Dr. Wood joined the New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) faculty in 2005 which became part of Rutgers University in 2015.

Dr. Wood’s research has benefited from 25 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health including a current Javits Neuroscience Investigator Merit Award from the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. She has also had funding from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society. Dr. Wood is the recent past-President of the American Society for Neurochemistry. In 2019, she received the honor of being elected a fellow in the AAAS for “her research on growth factors and their signaling pathways as they pertain to stem cell differentiation, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.” Dr. Wood was also promoted to Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University in 2020. One of her main passions in science has been in training the next generation of scientists. She has mentored numerous students through their PhDs, has directed graduate programs at both PSU and NJMS, Rutgers University, and currently directs the required PhD course in Professional Skills: Grant Writing.

Supported by the generosity of the Killam Trusts , The Neuro’s Killam Seminar series hosts outstanding guest speakers.

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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