IRCM Activities
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Events to come

Apr 24, 2023
From 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Location QCCanada
IRCM Conference

Maria Vera Ugalde

Maria Vera Ugalde

Imaging single mRNA molecules to investigate neuronal protein homeostasis

Maria Vera Ugalde, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
McGill University

Vera Ugalde Lab

This conference is hosted by Javier M. Di Noia, PhD. This conference is part of the 2022-2023 IRCM conference calendar.

In person: 
IRCM Auditorium
110, avenue des Pins O, H2W 1R7 Montreal
Wearing a mask is mandatory at all times

Zoom Link :
ID : 952 6976 2104
Code : 476372

IRCM conferences are set to occur under a hybrid format. However, please note that last-minute changes to online-only lectures may occur due to unforeseen circumstances. We invite you to visit this webpage again a few days before attending.

About this conference : 
In this seminar, I will present our ongoing research in the regulation of expression of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs) in neurons undergoing pathophysiological stresses and their relation to age-related neurodegenerative diseases. HSPs are molecular chaperones in charge of protein folding and homeostasis. Cells have the remarkable capacity to tailor the expression of HSPs to the extent of protein damage. The precise regulation of HSP expression is required to safeguard protein homeostasis and ensure cell functionality upon proteotoxic damage. Using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy techniques, we have discovered that beyond the activation of HSP transcription, neurons regulate the subcellular distribution of HSP mRNAs in response to stress. mRNA localization to neuronal projections emerges as a novel mechanism to regulate the local pool of HSPs and sustain proteostasis at neuronal processes. As I share our advancements on this project, I will introduce several mRNA imaging technologies that are helping us to answer fundamental gene expression regulation questions.

About Maria Vera Ugalde : 
Dr. Maria Vera Ugalde is originally from Spain, where she obtained her Ph.D. in Cell Biology at the University of Navarra. Under the direction of Dr. Puri Fortes, she strived to engineer gene therapy vectors based on SV40 to treat liver cirrhosis and colon cancer. She became interested in the mechanisms underlying gene expression regulation and favoring cell survival to cytotoxic therapies. Therefore, for her postdoc, she moved to the laboratory of Dr. Evgeny Nudler, at New York University, to investigate how cells survive adverse conditions by regulating the expression of the heat shock proteins (eLife, 2014). Dr. Ugalde then moved to Dr. Robert Singer’s lab to study the spatiotemporal regulation of the heat shock response in living cells with high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. While in Dr. Singer’s lab, she re-engineered the MS2 system to visualize single mRNA molecules and overcome the mRNA decay problems the system was having in yeast (Nat Methods, 2018).
Dr. Ugalde is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University, where she started her lab in May 2019. Her team investigates the influence of environmental conditions in the life cycle of mRNAs encoding for heat shock proteins and the link between their deregulation and the etiology of diseases that arise from the loss of protein homeostasis, like age-related neurodegeneration.

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