Broken links and brain disorders with neuroscientist Ram Madabushi at UB, Nov. 28

University of Bridgeport alumnus, whose work aims to help shed light on the causes of learning disorders, addiction, Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders, returns to campus to share his research and speak about careers in science
Dr. Ram Madabhushi

University of Bridgeport alumnus and neuroscientist Ram Madabhushi, PhD, whose research focuses on the connection between DNA damage and neurodegeneration to increase our understanding of brain disorders, will speak at the University of Bridgeport on Wednesday, November 28.

Madabushi is the Thomas O. Hicks Scholar in Medical Research at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He graduated with a BS in Biology from the University of Bridgeport in 2003 and earned a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from Weill Graduate School of Cornell University in 2010.

As a postdoctoral researcher at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, Madabhushi studied mechanisms governing genomic stability and activity-dependent gene expression in neurons.

His lecture, “Preparing for a career in scientific research: lessons learned at UB,” will be held in Dana Hall, room 107, from 12:20 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Madabhushi’s discovery that DNA strand breaks also are associated with neurological disorders will lead not only to the advance of the field of neurobiology but also to the elucidation, prevention, and possibly treatment of neurological diseases.–Spiros Katsifis, PhD,

Madabhusi’s research aims to understand how the organization and stability of neurons’ genetic material affect the formation of long-term memories, adaptive behaviors, and other physiological processes. The disruption of genome stability and genome organization is thought to underlie the development of various neurological disorders, including intellectual disability, addiction, and age-related disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, mutations in factors that maintain genomic stability manifest prominently in neurological diseases. Similarly, breakdown of epigenetic mechanisms and genome organization can lead to the development of lasting behaviors in addiction.

Yet the exact mechanisms by which genomic instability and changes to genome organization affect neuropathological outcomes remain poorly understood. For instance, with regards to genome instability, the pertinent sources of DNA damage that could lead to neurological disease remain unknown.

“The highlight of my postdoctoral research is the surprising discovery that physiological neuronal activities, including learning behaviors, cause neurons to incur DNA breaks,” Madabhushi said.

“Because DNA breaks are regarded as cytotoxic lesions, this phenomenon raises intriguing questions about how the formation and repair of DNA breaks in response to physiological neuronal activity is controlled, and whether the dysregulation of these processes could contribute to diseases, including age-related cognitive decline, addiction, and neuropsychiatric disorders.”

University of Bridgeport Department of Biology Professor Spiros Katsifis, PhD,  said, “It is known that DNA strand breaks cause cell death and possibly cancer. Dr. Madabhushi’s discovery that DNA strand breaks also are associated with neurological disorders will lead not only to the advance of the field of neurobiology but also to the elucidation, prevention, and possibly treatment of neurological diseases.”

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu