Maria Vera Ugalde
🏢 McIntyre Medical Building, Room 915
🔬 Research interest: Protein homeostasis, age-related neurodegeneration, Heat Shock Proteins, mRNA, gene expression, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy.
The lab investigates how eukaryotic cells survive to stress conditions that cause protein damage. In response to such circumstances, cells activate an universal survival mechanism known as the heat shock response (HSR). The HSR mitigates the stressor’s negative effects on damaging proteins through the robust induction of heat shock proteins (HSPs). They prevent the accumulation of damaged proteins and protec cell homeostasis. Hence, survival of the cell to stress coditions depends on the expression of the HSP. We study the unique regulation of the HSPs using single-cell and single-molecule fluorescence microscopy approaches. They enable us to consider each cell individually, analyze each step in the activation and repression of the heat shock response, and identify its regulators. These research programs will pave the way to find treatments for diseases related with the accumulation of damaged proteins, like age-related neurodegeneration.