Research areas

  • Glia biology
  • Neuroinflammatory responses
  • Sphingolipid metabolism
  • Functional Genomics using Drosophila
  • Rare diseases
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

Research Projects

  1. Determine how lipids in glia contribute to neuroinflammation.
  2. Develop sophisticated genetic tools to study glial biology.
  3. Help diagnose of rare disease patients with neurologic disorders and identify the therapeutic options using a fly model.

The ultimate goal of our research is to understand:

  • How lipids in glia are metabolized and transported to other cells in CNS
  • How lipid metabolism in glia affects immune responses in CNS
  • How lipids in glia activate cellular processes such as signaling pathways or transcription regulation.

The goal of the Drosophila Functional Core is to help diagnose rare neurological disease patients and suggest therapeutic options.

  • We are working to identify the FDA-approved drug for Mitchell Syndrome patients using Drosophila model.

What is Mitchell Syndrome?

As long as children have had genes and neurological problems, some of them have had Mitchell Syndrome. However, the disease is so rare that it went unidentified for all of human history. It also presents differently in different people, making it hard to categorize. And it’s only with genetic sequencing—a recent development—that researchers have identified the genetic cause of this illness. As of June 2022, we are aware of 15 people—children, teenagers, and adults—who have been diagnosed. Learn more

Donate to The Mitchell and Friends Foundation 

Mitchell and Friends is a new organization with no paid employees and limited administrative costs. We’d like to keep a small operational fund of $20,000 from which to run the organization and support families in need. On top of that, we have committed to raising $150,000 over the next two years to support research efforts at Washington University, and another laboratory to be named soon. With these funds, physician-scientists will be researching the cause of and possible treatments of Mitchell Syndrome. Learn more