Tim D Ahfeldt, PhD
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Neuroscience
- ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Neurology
Dr. Tim Ahfeldt is an Assistant Professor for Neuroscience. His laboratory carries out translational research using isogenic human pluripotent stem cell models of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) to investigate pathological mechanisms of PD mutations in differentiated midbrain dopaminergic neurons.
Star Family Prize for Excellence in Advising
Derek Bok Award for Distinct Teaching
Aging, Alzheimer's Disease, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Genetics of Movement disorders, Human Genetics and Genetic Disorders, Lysosomes/endosome, Mitochondria, Neuroscience, Parkinson's Disease, Proteomics
We have developed isogenic hPSCs models of complex polygenic diseases, focusing on Parkinson’s disease (PD). Neurodegenerative diseases including PD show a complicated interplay between environment, risk genes specific cell type vulnerability. hPSC isogenic models allow study of disease genes while controlling for genetic background and cell type. Using CRISPR gene editing techniques, we have introduced fluorescent reporters that allow tracking and purification of different neuronal populations. Further we have generated isogenic lines harboring PD causative or associated mutations. We differentiate hPSCs into specific neuronal populations using 3D-spin culture approaches. For example, PD is characterized by the selective vulnerability of nigral midbrain dopaminergic neurons (DANs). Analysis of our PD model through molecular and functional characterization, phenotyping, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches has enabled us to identify novel disease pathways. Our goal is to gain better mechanistic understanding of PD disease pathology to inform new disease modifying therapeutic approaches.