AUG 15, 2019 09:00 AM PDT

Understanding and ameliorating radiation-induced damage to oligodendrocytes

Speakers
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgetown University
    Biography
      Dr. Alexandra Taraboletti is a postdoctoral fellow training in the Tumor Biology program funded through a T32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award at Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Taraboletti received her PhD from the University of Akron in Chemistry where she used mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to investigate models neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis and myelin biology. In Dr. Fornace's lab, Alexandra applies metabolomics to assess biomarkers in easily accessible fluids following radiation injury. Specifically, she has worked on a new technology development for metabolomic-based biodosimetry, and is exploring protection methods to counter the negative impact of radiation in the brain. She uses a cell culture model of the myelin producing oligodendrocyte cell to examine in vitro effects of radiation. She is currently testing the use of dimethyl fumarate as a neuroprotectant against radiation injury. At Georgetown, Dr. Taraboletti is a Co-Chair for the Georgetown Postdoc Association - an establishment that acts to foster camaraderie and organize career development activities specifically geared towards postdocs. Her work with the Georgetown Postdoc Association has led to the developing stages of a new workshop series she hope to develop. The series hopes to foster teaching/higher education skills in interested graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Taraboletti, also has a passion for visual science communication, and applies her skills at the graphical editor and illustrator for The POSTDOCket (the newsletter of the National Postdoctoral Association). She is an avid artist, and is always looking to grow in the bourgeoning field of #sciart.

    Abstract:
    DATE:  August 15, 2019
    TIME:   9:00am PDT, 12:00pm EDT
     
     
    Radiation therapy is a critical tool for the treatment of brain tumors, however, exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation (IR) causes numerous central nervous system side-effects, including declines in cognitive function, memory, and attention. Brain injury from IR is characterized by numerus inflammatory effects, including white matter damage from the loss of myelin-producing oligodendrocyte cells. While neuro-oncology outcomes are often concerned with survival, strategies to understand and ameliorate radiation-induced damage after IR treatment are needed to preserve and improve patient quality of life. Our lab is interested in studying the differential effects of radiation on oligodendrocyte cells, as they comprise the majority of white matter in the brain, and methods to halt radiation-induced damage. We have established a mass spectrometry-based metabolomics method to study radiation-injury in cells, tissue, and biofluids, and are applying this technique to study radiation effects on the MO3.13 oligodendrocyte cell line. We are currently investigating the ability of dimethyl fumarate (DMF), an established neuroprotective agent, to amend damage and demyelination to oligodendrocyte cells versus glioma cells, after X-irradiation. Using metabolomics, we noted that oligodendrocyte cells upregulated tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates in response to DMF treatment, with sustained levels after radiation. In addition, measured levels of glutathione were elevated, and markers for generalized oxidative stress were comparably lower with DMF pretreatment. Ultimately, this information could be used to prevent radiation-induced demyelination, promoting patient quality of life.
     
    Learning Objectives:
    • Understanding the current state of brain radiation treatment and patient outcomes and quality of life that can follow therapy.
    • Detailing basic glial cell biology, and how to use the MO3.13 cell line to model immature and mature differentiated oligodendrocyte cells.  
    • Understanding mass-spectrometry based metabolomics - and its use in monitoring markers of radiation injury, and oligodendrocyte metabolism.
     
     
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