Ghazaleh Ashrafi, PhD

Assistant Professor of Cell Biology/Physiology

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

The ashrafi lab uses genetic, biochemical, and quantitative optical imaging techniques to study metabolic regulation of neurotransmission. The brain is the most energy consuming organ of the body and is highly sensitive to energetic perturbations. A significant fraction of this energy is consumed at nerve terminals for neurotransmission. However, regulatory mechanism that modulate energy metabolism at nerve terminals are poorly understood. The overall goal of the lab is to uncover novel molecular regulators of glycolysis and mitochondrial metabolism and elucidate their role in axonal degeneration and neurodegenerative disease. To this end, we use state-of-the-art optical indicators for ATP and other metabolites and monitor synaptic activity in single synapses to gain quantitative insight into presynaptic metabolic regulation.