The Cell Biology division at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is dedicated to utilizing stem cells to create models for different types of ALS, such as SOD1, C9orf72, TDP-43, and sporadic cases. Through a combination of stem cell lines derived from participants in the ALS Research Collaborative (ARC) and genome-edited lines, the team transforms these cells into relevant cell types for ALS, such as spinal motor neurons and astrocytes. These models are used for both basic research to learn more about ALS biology and to test potential therapies.

Leading the team is ALS TDI’s Director of Cell Biology, Dr. Kyle Denton.  Dr. Denton joined ALS TDI in 2016, inspired by his interest in neurodegenerative diseases and the opportunity to work with the resources provided by the ARC study. He came to the Institute after a postdoctoral position at the National Institutes of Health. Kyle received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut Health Center in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Neuroscience. Prior to that, he received his B.A. and M.A. from Clark University in Biochemistry in 2010 and 2011, respectively. In his free time, Kyle enjoys cycling and hiking.

The Cell Biology team encompasses a wide range of expertise, working tirelessly to advance scientific understanding and therapeutic interventions for ALS – read on to learn about our powerhouse team!

Anushka has been with ALS TDI since 2022 as a Scientist on the Cell Biology team. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and Genetics from King’s College London, a Master’s in Novel Therapies from Imperial College and, most recently, a Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Gene Therapy from The University of Sheffield. At ALS TDI, she primarily works to analyze cell models of ALS and study the characteristics of the disease. In Anushka’s free time, she has taken up biking thanks to the strong cycling culture here at ALS TDI. She is also classically trained in Indian dance and an avid explorer. Her coworkers like to tease her about the perpetually packed bags under her desk on Friday afternoons - no one knows where she is off to next!

Therese joined ALS TDI in March 2015. Currently, Therese works on genome editing to create cellular models for ALS to help elucidate disease pathways. She also assists in high-throughput screening of iPSCs using our robotics system. Therese is from Niagara Falls, NY (Go Bills!), and graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a BS in Biology. Outside of work, Therese is kept busy with her two German Shepherds as well as her two very sassy cats.

Yiding is a molecular biologist who has been working to end ALS with ALS TDI since 2015. As part of our translational research team, she spends her time in the lab subcloning genes for her team to use in experiments. In her free time, Yiding enjoys practicing meditation, yoga, and pickleball.

TJ has been with ALS TDI since 2023. Originally from Buffalo, NY, TJ received his BS in Biology and Neuroscience from Canisius College and his MS and PhD from the University at Buffalo. TJ moved to Boston to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship, where he studied at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. He has experience in disease modeling with iPSC-derived neurons, focusing on mechanisms of organelle trafficking defects in Huntington’s disease models. TJ works on the Cell Biology team as a Scientist II. In his free time, TJ enjoys fishing, reading, writing, and anything outdoors related. He also loves to travel, recently visiting both Japan and Iceland!

Amit joined the cell biology team in 2022. He currently works with whole genome sequencing data collected from ARC participants to help identify potential therapeutic targets. Throughout his life, he has had personal and professional connections to neurodegenerative diseases which drove him to pursue this area of research. Amit was an international student from India, having studied in China for 10 years before receiving a bachelor's in biomedical science from Rochester Institute of Technology. In his free time, he enjoys tinkering, 3D printing, riding electric skateboards, and playing badminton.

Swetha, an Associate Scientist I at ALS TDI since 2022, focuses on working with induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models of ALS. With an M.S. in Human Physiology from Boston University, she brings a solid academic background to her work. Her enthusiasm for neurodegenerative disorders and electrophysiology adds value to the research team. Swetha's joy in contributing to ALS research is matched by her hobbies in singing and writing, showcasing her diverse interests and creativity.

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