Christopher Brower, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Brower received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. As a graduate student he studied the regulation of gene expression in the lab of Joan and Ron Conaway. He then was then a post-doc in Alex Varshavsky's lab in the division of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. There he learned genetic engineering.

 

As a scientist at Caltech, Dr. Brower generated a number of genetically modified mouse models to study the role of protein arginylation in cellular protein breakdown. He discovered that the loss of protein arginylation in mice causes a dramatic loss of fat and resistance to diet-induced obesity. He also discovered that arginylation was important for the removal of a number of pathogenic forms of proteins known to be associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and frontal temporal dementia.

 

Dr. Brower is continuing this research at TWU. His laboratory is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health to examine the role of protein quality control in the toxicity of proteins associated with neurodegeneration.

Yasar received his M.Tech in Biotechnology from D.Y Patil University, India where his research focused on developing biocompatible nanomaterials. While he was in India, he got to know Dr. Brower’s research from a friend. Yasar’s curiosity in finding out what happens to brain cells during neurodegenerative disease motivated him to come to the US and join the Brower lab as a doctoral student. His work focuses on understanding the cellular response to aggregation-prone proteins associated with ALS and other forms of dementia. He uses a number of model systems, including cultured cells, mice, yeast, and worms to answer questions related to protein aggregation and its associated toxicity.

 

In his free time, Yasar loves to bake, travel, read, and spend time with friends. Being one of the senior students in the lab, Yasar also likes to boss his labmates around.

 
Yasar Kasu, MS, PhD
 

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Mosleh received his bachelors in Biology in 2000 and M.S. in Molecular Biology and Genetics in 2006 from Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan. In 2006, he immigrated to the United States and worked for several years in California at the City of Hope National Medical Center, and at Baxter International. In 2015, he joined  the doctoral program in Biology in TWU. Mosleh is trying to understand how the loss of Ate1 gene function causes fat loss and resistance to diet-induced obesity in mice. His research involves understanding Ate1 function at the molecular level, and if it is regulated by the hormones leptin and ghrelin. His work may provide new therapeutic treatments for obesity.

 

When not in lab, Mosleh likes gardening and hiking.

 

Mosleh Alkhatatbeh, MS

Doctoral Student

Originally from India, Akshaya moved to Texas in 2017 to obtain her PhD in Molecular Biology in TWU. Before coming to Texas, Akshaya received M.S. degree in Biotechnology at VIT University in India. During her graduate studies in India, she developed a sustainable eugenol coated catheter to prevent catheter associated urinary tract infection with Dr. Pragasam Vishwanathan. In 2018, she joined the Brower lab as a Doctoral student where she is interested in characterizing the novel protein, Ligand of Ate1, otherwise called Liat1.

 

In her free time, she enjoys cooking, watching TV series and walking around TWU. She is also known for her love of soccer, and especially, Lionel Messi (a legendary soccer player).

 

Akshaya Arva, MS.

 

Doctoral Student

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Rinki was a practicing pediatrician and Neonatologist in India. She moved to US in 2015 as clinical researcher at Duke’s Children’s Hospital and worked as a Resident Pediatrician at NYU. In 2019 she joined the Brower lab. Her research involves identifying modulators arginyl-transferase 1 (Ate1) that was shown to help prevent the accumulation of aggregation prone proteins and to play a role in fat and energy metabolism. She recently generated an in vivo Ate1 reporter to use in CRISPR/Cas9-based screens for genetic modifiers and compound libraries screens for pharmacological modifiers of Ate1. She hopes to find new treatment strategies for neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Rinki is a nature enthusiast and an ardent traveler. She also loves photography and cooking.

 

Rinki Dasgupta, MD.

 

Doctoral Student

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Jasmin Monzano

 

Undergraduate Student

Lab Alumni

 

Graduate Students:

Jennifer Duncan

 

Undergraduate Researchers:

Christina Warren

Hunter Prater

Thuy Nguyen

Victoria Dang

Katherine Vela

Samrawit Alemu

Nancy DeLaCruz

Joel Lukose

Nicole Loew

Jess Johnson

Christin Sajan

Hope Parkin

 

High School Researchers:

Angela Lemari

Sarah Beisner

Lacy Haynes

Andrew Hennes

 

Technicians:

Ruvaid Virk

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