Physiology and Biophysics

Faculty

Mark Bothwell Ph.D.

Professor

Ph.D. Biochemistry
University of California (Berkeley), 1975

Faculty Image (large)

Biochemical Mechanisms of Growth-Factor Action; Molecular and Cellular Physiology of Nerve Growth Factors

My main interest is the regulatory function of growth factors in embryonic development, and particularly, the role of growth factors in mediating trophic interactions in the developing nervous system. Recognizing the relationship of embryonic processes to the processes of functional and anatomic plasticity of the adult nervous system, we are interested also in the functions of growth factors in the adult nervous system, in the processes of memory and learning, in the repair of nervous system injury, and in neurodegenerative conditions. We also are interested in the roles of these factors in tumor biology. Our studies are focused primarily on a family of growth factors - neurotrophins and their receptors. A major focus concerns the function and signal transduction mechanisms of the 75 kDa neurotrophin receptor, p75NTR and a homolog, NRH. Another focus concerns the evolution of neurotrophic factor signaling and the role this evolution played in the evolution of complex nervous systems.

Our studies encompass species ranging from invertebrates such as sea urchins to zebrafish to mammals (mice). Another major interest of our lab is the function of the beta-amyloid precursor protein in normal cellular physiology and in Alzheimer's Disease. We are investigating the hypothesis that APP functions as a cell surface receptor that signals to the nucleus in a manner resembling that of Notch.