IGSP Faculty

Nina Tang Sherwood, PhD

Nina Tang Sherwood, PhD

Assistant Research Professor, Department of Biology

My lab studies the regulation of the microtubule cytoskeleton in synapse formation and nervous system development more generally. We focus on a family of proteins known as the microtubule severing proteins. Mutations in the gene encoding one of these proteins, spastin, cause a debilitating neurodegenerative disease, Autosomal Dominant Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (AD-HSP). Spastin mutations also cause severe mobility defects in Drosophila, our model system of choice. Mutations in the genes encoding two other severing proteins, Katanin-60 and Kat60-L1, affect Drosophila CNS metamorphosis and dendrite outgrowth, respectively. Our broad goal is thus to understand the in vivo functions and regulation of this protein family, from the level of gene to behavior, and particularly at the level of cell biology.

I received my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UCSD, and my Ph.D. in Neurobiology here at Duke, studying neurotrophin effects on excitatory synaptic transmission with Donald Lo. My postdoctoral work was done in Kai Zinn's lab at Caltech, where I made the switch to fruit flies and first discovered that regulation of microtubules by Spastin is required for proper synapse formation.

I currently teach two courses: Cell and Molecular Neurobiology (Bio/Neurosci 115), which is a large undergraduate lecture course, and Biology of Nervous System Diseases (Bio/Neurobio 241S), an undergrad/grad seminar course.

Recent Publications