• Eleanna Kara
  • Eleanna Kara
  • Assistant Professor
  • Department: Department of Neurology
  • Program(s): Cell and Developmental Biology Graduate Program
  • Rotating Faculty
  • Rutgers University
  • 683 Hoes Lane West, Room 188
  • Piscataway, NJ 08854
  • Key Words: Neurodegeneration, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, tissue culture, neuropathology, gene expression, genetics, cell biology.
  • Lab Site URL

The mission of the lab is to follow a network-based approach to understand the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, with the ultimate aim being to utilize this strategy to develop combination treatments. This strategy distinguishes our lab from a decades-long tradition in the field of zeroing in on specific genes and focusing on the development of monotherapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Simultaneously, the lab aspires to remain at the cutting edge in terms of cellular and molecular biology techniques and to advance the neurodegeneration field by developing innovative tools and technologies that we will share with the research community.

We will be pursuing the following research questions, building on our proven expertise in high throughput screens, genomics, neuropathology and development of genetically encoded fluorescent tools.

  • Follow up studies on the genes identified through our recently published high throughput screen on a-synuclein propagation to identify their mechanism of action.

  • Study the role of and genetic networks underlying selective vulnerability in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Elucidate the pathways that lead to the formation of a-synuclein inclusions.

  • Development of novel genetically encoded tools to study specific disease mechanisms.

There is emphasis on understanding genetic networks in every project, consistently with the overall mission of the lab; therefore, all projects incorporate one or more of high throughput screens or -omics at either the discovery phase or to dissect the function and interactors of a specific target.

 We are currently using mammalian cell lines (including stable cell lines), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSc) and human brain tissue. In the future, and as our research program advances, we will expand our toolkit to also include mouse work.

We are mainly interested in Parkinson’s disease, but we also have projects on Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple System Atrophy.

Techniques: Standard cell and molecular biology techniques, flow cytometry, microscopy (standard imaging and FRET, FLIM, FRAP), iPSc, high throughput genetic and chemical screens, single cell and spatial transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, genomics, optogenetics, histology.