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Bridget Liu


LAHS ASI (Advanced Science Investigation) - Biology

Lipid Metabolism and Parkinson’s

October 2, 2023 at 9:56:00 PM
Eagle Theater
Bridget Liu


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:

Bridget is a senior at Los Altos High School in her second year of Advanced Science Investigation (ASI). She’s working with her partner, Audrey Tsai, to continue their project investigating changes in lipid metabolism in Parkinson's. She has been working at a lab called ASDRP from 2022 on various projects, including investigating the efficacy of different polyphenols in Alzheimer’s Disease, exploring the synthesis of various analogs of rivastigmine to treat Alzheimer’s, leading a project using LC-MS to quantify neurotransmitters in Parkinson’s, and investigating fluorophore-labeled peptides. She has presented at SCCUR, WCBSURC, and ACS. Some of her other research experience includes interning at Stanford in the Mourrain Lab where she explored sleep biology in neurological diseases like autism and Fragile X. Aside from research, Bridget is an avid creative writer and a previous Public Forum debate captain.

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