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Current Lab Members

The Team Behind The Man 


    Kenneth W. Henry, Ph.D.
      Lab Manager
      T: (858) 534-9703
Selected publications:                                         Henry, K. W. 2nd, Spencer, M.L., Theodosiou, M., Lou, D., and Noonan D.J.  A Neuronal-specific Differentation Protein that Directly Modulates Retinoid Receptor Transcriptional Activation.  Nuclear Receptor.  1:7-16, 2003.

Henry, K.W. 2nd, Carey, B., Howard, W. R., Hoefner, D., and Noonan, D.J.  Use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the Identification of Novel Transcription Factor DNA Binding Specifics.  Yeast.  18: 445-454, 2001.

Henry, K.W., Yuan, X., Koszewski, N.J., Onda, H., Kwaitkowski, D.J., and Noonan D.J. Tuberous Sclerosis Gene 2 Product Modulates Transcription Mediated by Steroid Hormone Receptor Family Members.  J. Biol. Chem. 273(32): 20535-20539, 1998.

Henry, K.W. 2nd, O'Brien, M.L., Clevenger, W., Jow, L., and Noonan, D.J., Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor Response Specificities as Defined in Yeast and Mammalian Cell Transcription Assays.  Toxicol.Appl.Pharmacol. 132: 317-324, 1995.

Henry, K.W. 2nd, Brown, J.L., and McCracken, A.A.  Selective Enrichment for Temperature-sensitive Secretion Mutants of Mammalian Cells Using Plant Lectin, Concanavalin A.  Somat.Cell Mol. Genet. 16(4): 297-304, 1990.  

   Maria Huaracha 
    Operations Manager
    T: (858) 534-9700

Maria joined the Goldstein Lab in July 2017, after a 17-year career with the San Diego Blood Bank's Stem Cell Donor Center and Cellular Therapy Program.  Her first introduction to stem cell therapy came in 1998 when she was selected as an allogeneic marrow donor for a patient in Germany. In 1999, she joined the donor center as a coordinator to educate, register and advocate for adult donors and increase umbilical cord blood donations registered onto the national marrow registry. Later as the donor center's Program Manager, Maria coordinated allogeneic stem cell transplants and couriered cells to transplant centers worldwide. Her interest in stem cells led her back to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, focusing on quality assurance and regulatory affairs. 

Her role as Operations Manager in the Goldstein lab provides an outlet for her regulatory and science interests. 

   Liz Roberts  
    Research Associate IV
    T: (858) 534-9703

Selected Publications:
Clement AM, Nguyen MD, Roberts EA, Garcia ML, Boillee S, Rule M, McMahon AP, Doucette W, Siwek D, Ferrante RJ, Brown RH Jr, Julien JP, Goldstein LS, Cleveland DW. Wild-type nonneuronal cells extend survival of SOD1 mutant motor neurons in ALS mice (2003). Science 302(5642):113-7.

Kamal A, Almenar-Queralt A, LeBlanc JF, Roberts EA, Goldstein LS.            
Kinesin-mediated axonal transport of a membrane compartment containing beta-secretase and presenilin-1 requires APP (2001). Nature 414 (6864):643-8. 

Marszalek JR, Liu X, Roberts EA, Chui D, Marth JD, Williams DS, Goldstein LS (2000). Genetic evidence for selective transport of opsin and arrestin by kinesin-II in mammalian photoreceptors. Cell 102(2):175-87.
View all articles by Liz Roberts


   Paulina Ordonez, M.D.
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    T: (858) 534-9703

I am interested in using human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to create models of disease. I am involved in the study of Niemann Pick type C (NPC), a progressive and lethal pediatric dementia that shares multiple features with Alzheimer's disease. I have generated a set of hESC with decreased expression of NPC1, the gene that is mutated in patients with NPC. Neurons derived from NPC1 knockdown hESC exhibit abnormal cellular phenotypes and impaired survival when compared to wild type hESC derived neurons. We are currently exploring the contribution of these pathological phenotypes on the development of disease and the mechanisms underlying neuronal failure in NPC1 knockdown human neurons.

Project Scientists

   Angels Almenar-Queralt, Ph.D.
    Associate Project Scientist
    T: (858) 534-9703

                                                                                       Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than 30 million people worldwide. To date, all attempted clinical trials have failed to slow down, stop, or revert cognitive deterioration in AD patients, perhaps because treatments are administrated when neuronal damage is already irreversible, or perhaps because of lack of understanding of key underlying mechanisms leading to this disease. I am using brain samples, cerebrospinal fluid, and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons from AD patients to identify endophenotypes that may be associated with early stages of the disease and to understand the underlying mechanisms leading to these phenotypes. Together, I hope my findings would contribute to early AD detection and new ways of treatment.

   Utpal Das, Ph.D. 
    Associate Project Scientist
    T: (858) 534-9703
Neurons with its extended dendrites and a long axon are highly polarized cells inside our brain that require specialized intracellular machinery to perform various essential functions such as synaptic transmission. Besides anatomical uniqueness, the development of specialized subcellular organelles, distinct protein composition, and division of labor within the cell body, axons, dendrites, and synapses, make a neuron further intricate compared to the other non-neuronal cells. To maintain a homeostatic balance in the protein content in different neuronal processes, neurons have evolved with some of the most advanced and distinct transport mechanisms in our organ systems, and any dysregulation in neuronal protein trafficking could lead to neuronal degeneration and neurodegenerative diseases. My goal is to understand the role of various key regulators of neuronal protein trafficking. Using live imaging, immunofluorescence, biochemical tools, proteomics, and human-induced pluripotent stem cells and murine primary neurons as a model system; currently, I am examining the altered trafficking of some of the key proteins in neurons that could trigger Alzheimer's disease. Identifying different regulators and pathways could lead to the discovery of newer targets for therapeutic intervention. 

Selected Publications:

Das U*, Wang L, Ganguly A, Saikia JL, Wagner SL, Koo EH, Roy S. (2016)Visualization of APP and BACE-1 approximation in neurons: new insights into the amyloidogenic pathway. Nature Neuroscience 19: 55-64. * Co-corresponding author

Wang L, Das U, Scott DA, Tang Y, McLean PJ, Roy S. (2014)α-synuclein multimers cluster synaptic   vesicles and attenuate recycling. Curr Biol. 24: 2319-2326. 

Das U, Scott DA, Ganguly A, Koo EH, Tang Y, Roy S. (2013) Activity induced convergence of APP and BACE-1 in acidic microdomains via and endocytosis-dependent pathway. Neuron, 79: 447-460.

Scott DA*, Das U*, Tang Y, Roy S. (2011) Mechanistic logic underlying the axonal transport of cytosolic   proteins. Neuron, 70 (3): 441-454. (* Equal contribution)

Das U, Kumar J, Mayer ML, Plested AJ. (2010)Domain organization and function in GluK2 subtype kainate receptors. PNAS. 107(18):8463-8. 

View all articles by Utpal Das:

Postdoctoral Fellows

   Rodrigo dos Santos Chaves,   
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    T: (858) 534-9703

My research interests involve the development of a comprehensive understanding of cellular and molecular dysfunctions occurring early in Alzheimer's disease before the manifestation of canonical pathways i.e. protein aggregation and neurodegeneration, aiming to comprehend the disease etiology.

Selected Publications:

Chaves, R. S., Kazi, A. I., et al. Presence of insoluble Tau following rotenone exposure ameliorates basic pathways associated with neurodegeneration. IBRO Reports, v1, p.32. 2016.

 Chaves, R. S., Melo, T. Q., et al. Dynein c1h1, dynactin and syntaphilin expression in brain areas related to neurodegenerative diseases following exposure to rotenone. Acta neurobiologiae experimentalis, v73, p.541. 2013.

 Chaves, R. S., Melo T. Q., et al. Protein aggregation containing beta-amyloid, alpha-synuclein and hyperphosphorylated tau in cultured cells of hippocampus, substantia nigra and locus coeruleus after rotenone exposure. BMC Neurosci, v.11, p.144. 2010.

Lab/Research Assistants

    Athena Doshi
      Research Assistant
       T: (858) 534-9703

  Rayln Britton
    Lab Assistant
    T: (858) 534-9703