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Our Researchers

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Martha Cyert, PhD

Stanford University

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Mark Dell'Acqua, PhD

University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus

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Wolfgang S. Peti, PhD

University of Connecticut Health Center

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Meet the Researchers

Professor Martha Cyert is the Nancy Chang Professor and Chair of the Biology department at Stanford University. She has been studying the calcineurin phosphatase, the product of the PPP3CA gene, for more than thirty years, carrying out experiments in both baker's yeast (which also makes calcineurin) and human cells to understand how calcineurin works and identify the proteins that it regulates. The human calcineurin protein functions when it is expressed in yeast cells, and this provides a fairly simple way to examine if and/or how mutations in the PPP3CA gene compromise calcineurin function. The Cyert lab will use these methods to study the PPP3CA mutations found in human patients and determine whether the mutant PPP3CA proteins are less able to interact with and/or to regulate its protein targets. This fundamental work will lay the groundwork for further studies of PPP3CA mutations in human cells and in mice. More information about research in the Cyert lab can be found here: https://cyertlab.com.

Professor Mark Dell'Acqua is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Director of the Neurotechnology Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The Dell'Acqua laboratory at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus studies how signaling by the phosphatase enzyme calcineurin, which is made by the PPP3CA gene, controls the strength of synaptic communication and the regulation of genes in nerve cells during learning and memory. In particular, they also study how alterations in calcineurin/PPP3CA signaling contribute to impaired cognitive function in neurodevelopmental, neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. With support of the PPP3CA Hope Foundation, the Dell'Acqua laboratory will determine how PPP3CA neurodevelopmental disorder-linked variants lead to alterations in calcineurin regulation of synapses and genes to result in intellectual disability, autism and epilepsy associated with this disorder. They plan to employ both neuronal cell culture systems and mouse models to address these research questions. More information about research in the Dell'Acqua lab can be found here: https://medschool.cuanschutz.edu/pharmacology/faculty/primary-faculty/mark-dell'acqua-phd.

Professor Wolfgang Peti is a Professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The Peti laboratory at the University of Connecticut Health Center studies how the phosphatase PP2B/PP3/calcineurin, for which the catalytic subunit is encoded by the PPP3CA gene, is regulated, recruits its substrates and achieves substrates specificity. The laboratory employs a variety of biochemical and structural tools to study the role of calcineurin in a variety of neuronal signaling events. With support of the PPP3CA Hope Foundation, the Peti laboratory will determine the molecular basis for the dysfunction of the PPP3CA neurodevelopmental disorder-linked variants. We will leverage established biochemical and structural pipelines to answer these important research questions. More information about research in the Peti laboratory can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/petilaboratory.

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