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Audrey Tsai


LAHS ASI (Advanced Science Investigation) - Biology

Lipid Metabolism and Parkinson’s

October 2, 2023 at 9:55:00 PM
Eagle Theater
Audrey Tsai


Parkinson’s Disease is a form of progressive neurodegeneration that primarily affects dopaminergic neurons, characterized by misfolded α-Syn proteins clumped together in Lewy Bodies. More recently, it has been proposed that α-Syn toxicity may increase during interactions with fatty acids. There have been a number of studies linking stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase 1 (SCD1), the rate-limiting enzyme for the conversion of saturated fatty acids to monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), to the increased toxicity of α-Syn. Conversely, SCD1 inhibition is shown to decrease the toxicity and aggregation of α-Syn. This project aims to synthesize seven novel analogs of SCD1 inhibitors, which are hypothesized to compete with saturated fatty acids to decrease their conversion into their respective MUFAs. Experimental results are coupled with in silico experiments using Autodock Vina to rationalize observed structure-activity relationships.

Meet the Speaker:

Audrey is a senior at Los Altos High School in her second year of Advanced Science Investigations (ASI). She's working with her partner, Bridget Liu, to continue their project investigating how changes in lipid metabolism affect Parkinson's. Audrey is also the Editor-in-Chief of the LAHS student newspaper, the Talon, and varsity Public Forum debate captain of the MVLA Speech & Debate team. Some of her other research experience includes writing a literature review with Professor Jane E. Sullivan of Northwestern on the use of Botulinum Toxin to treat post-stroke patients, and investigating the inhibition of CDC14 as a potential fungicide at Purdue University as part of the Summer Science Program under Dr. Chitaranjan Das and Dr. Soma Mukhopadhyay.

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