Department of Neuroscience
Kumar Sambamurti, Ph.D.
843-792-4346 (Center on Aging)
BS, Botany, 1977, Vivekananda College, Madras, India
MS, Botany, 1979, University of Poona, Pune, India
Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, 1989, UMDNJ, New Jersey
Dr. Sambamurti’s research program is focused on mechanisms of neurodegeneration that ultimately result in the slow decline associated with aging as well as in a number of diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), macular degeneration (AMD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). These diseases are characterized by the failure of the protein maintenance mechanisms resulting in their deposition.
For example, in AD a small peptide of 42-residues_Amyloid beta (Ab) is deposited extracellularly as senile plaques and cerebrovascular amyloid and a microtubule-associated protein, tau, is deposited within affected neurons as neurofibrillary tangles. Ab is also deposited in extracellular deposits called drusen that characterize the neurodegeneration associated with AMD. Although aggregates of Ab are somewhat neurotoxic in vitro, mice that deposit Ab do not show neuronal loss suggesting that the mechanisms of neurodegeneration may be complex.
We are currently, studying APP processing and function to ultimately dissect out the processes and pathways that lead to neuronal dysfunction and death in AD and AMD. Our studies use cellular and animal models to characterize the metabolic pathways of APP and related proteins, understand the function of these proteins and determine the protein interactions and localization changes associated with normal and abnormal functioning of neuronal cells.