Research areas focus on the mechanisms of protein misfolding, aggregation, and spread in neurodegenerative disease.
The Rauch lab is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that contribute to diseases associated with protein misfolding and aggregation - with a particular focus on the neurodegenerative protein tau. Tau is an abundant and highly soluble protein, yet is known to aggregate in a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease. The deposition of tau aggregates, or neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), is correlated with cognitive decline in patients and permits neuropathological diagnoses of patients in different stages of disease. While the composition and structure of NFTs are well-characterized, the in vivo process of tau aggregation and the subsequent spread of this aggregation are not well understood phenomena.
The lab is focused on three main areas of research in regards to tau neurobiology: tau spread mechanisms, tau physical state transitions, and the influence of cellular identity on disease mechanism. The overarching goal of the lab is to understand the requirements for tau disease progression and to devise new strategies to treat disease. We use a variety of techniques in the lab (in vitro biochemistry, single cell RNA sequencing, CRISPR-based functional genomics, optogenetic technologies, etc.) across different system models (cell lines, differentiated stem cells, primary cultures, and mice) in order to build a complete picture of tau regulation.
Learn more at https://www.biochem.umass.edu/faculty/jennifer-rauch
PhD: University of Michigan
Postdoctoral Training: University of California, Santa Barbara