Mitochondrial Toxicity Is A Major Determinant of Microglial Apoptosis and Neuroinflammation

images of microglia treated with meth.

We will examine the effect of various drugs on apoptosis signaling in microglia and neuroinflammation.

Project description

Brain cells express specialized pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) that are capable of triggering inflammatory pathways and can recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), or host-derived endogenous molecules, called danger or damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). We evaluate the expression of PAMPs and DAMPs in brain cells treated with various drugs and HIV proteins and Amyloid peptides.

The predominant signatures of apoptosis include the loss of cell volume, or cell shrinkage, nuclear condensation, internucleosomal DNA fragmentation, and apoptotic body formation. We examine the effect of various drugs of abuse on apoptosis signaling in microglia and neuroinflammation and various mechanisms associated with neuroinflammation.

Project outcome

We hope that the student will a make a sufficient contribution to earn a co-authorship on an scientific abstract and manuscript.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Longer project if student is productive
Start time Fall, Summer
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Individual student project
Benefits Academic Credit
Who is eligible Seniors
Goldwater and the National Science Foundation

Students participating in this project might be interested in and eligible for the Goldwater Scholarship and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Connect with the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships to learn more.

Project mentor

Supriya Mahajan

Research Associate Professor


6074 UB CTRC, 85 Ellicott St.

Phone: (716) 888-4776


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Read related published work: "Methamphetamine Induces Apoptosis of Microglia via the Intrinsic Mitochondrial-Dependent Pathway"