Researcher Profile: On the Frontier of Precision Medicine
Jun 6, 2019 12:00 AM
Dr. Mandi Gandelman joined the department of Neurology 3 years ago, bringing her valuable expertise in cellular and animal models of neurological disease to strengthen Dr. Stefan Pulst’s research team. Dr. Gandelman has a master in neuroscience and a PhD in cellular and molecular neuroscience, and before joining the Pulst lab she worked at the neurodegeneration unit of the Institut Pasteur Montevideo and Joe Beckman’s lab at Oregon State University, where she trained in neurobiology of disease with a special focus on ALS.
Dr. Gandelman’s expertise lies in studying the mechanisms of neurodegeneration at the cellular and molecular level. For this, her main tool are neurons, specifically primary cultures of neurons derived from a variety of animal models of disease and neurons derived from patient cells. When asked about her particular approach, Dr. Gandelman says “Neurons in isolation from systemic influence hold the answer as to what their specific death triggers are and what are the best interventions to make them healthy again. This approach contributes towards the shift to precision medicine that is revolutionizing the field of neurodegeneration”
Under Dr. Stefan Pulst direction, Dr. Gandelman produces human motor neurons derived from patient’s biopsy samples. This allows her to study how each patient’s specific genetic makeup causes neuronal death. Dr. Gandelman’s work with patient-derived motor neurons helped lab secure an NIH R21 grant to do further studies; and the excitement around her work led to an invitation to give a talk at the Society for Neuroscience meeting last November.