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Investigators and Program Directors

Abigail Snyder-Keller

Abigail Snyder-Keller

Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center, Microbial Genetics
Director, Histopathology Core
Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences

Ph.D., Psychobiology, University of Pittsburgh, 1983 (Dr. Michael Zigmond, advisor).
Postdoctoral training, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 1983-1986 (Dr. Raymond Lund, advisor).

Research Interests

Dr. Snyder-Keller is a neuroscientist who uses primarily anatomical techniques to study the brain. The focus of the research in Dr. Snyder-Keller's laboratory has been on various aspects of the development and plasticity of the basal ganglia, regions of the brain involved in motor control. Both in vivo and in vitro techniques have been utilized to assess specific influences that control how the circuitry of the basal ganglia forms initially, and how it can be reestablished after injury or insult. Some of this work has involved examining how prenatal exposure to drugs of abuse, hypoxia, or inflammation (via maternal infection) can disrupt proper development of basal ganglia structures, and thereby increase susceptibility to the later development of neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Most recently, Dr. Snyder-Keller has joined a team of researchers led by Dr. Anne Messer, who are involved in developing gene therapies for neurological disorders. Using animal models of the neurodegenerative disorders Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, she is evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of "intrabodies", intracellular antibodies that can be directed against the defective protein of interest. Development and refinement of targeted intrabodies holds great promise for the future treatment of these neurological disorders.

Dr. Snyder-Keller also serves as Director of the Histopathology Core, which provides histology services to Wadsworth Center researchers. She offers assistance with brain dissections, as well as guidance on histological and immunocytochemical staining techniques to other Wadsworth Center scientists.

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