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
Level of collaboration Individual student project
Benefits Academic Credit
Who is eligible Seniors
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.
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



To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. 

To get started, contact the project mentor using the contact information above to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge. Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project: