Austin Ferro

Entering Class - 2015

E-MAIL: ferro029@umn.edu

UNDERGRAD INSTITUTION AND MAJOR: Skidmore College, B.A., Neuroscience, 2015

GRADUATE ADVISOR
Marija Cvetanovic, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience 
Alfonso Araque, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

THESIS COMMITTEE MEMBERS 
Harry T. Orr, Ph.D., Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Marija Cvetanovic, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience 
Alfonso Araque, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Sylvain Lesne, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Eric Newman, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

DESCRIPTION OF GRADUATE RESEARCH
Glial cells are integral cell types to the overall function of the central nervous system, yet how they may function and or contribute to neurodegenerative disease is not well understood. Our lab has begun to elucidate the functional role of Bergmann glia, a cerebellar astroglia, in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1). Specifically, we are demonstrating how Bergmann glial gene expression changes contribute to SCA1 progression in hopes of elucidating potential glial based therapeutic targets.    

RESEARCH CATEGORIES:

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases & Neural Injury
  • Neuroimaging & Optogenetics 
  • Electrophysiology 

GRADUATE LEVEL AWARDS AND HONORS

  • Stark Travel Award

GRADUATE LEVEL ABSTRACTS
Ferro A, Araque A, Cvetanovic M. (2017) Bimodal function of astroglia in SCA1 disease. Poster at International Astrocyte School, Bertinoro, Italy. 

PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATIONS
Ferro A, Araque A, Cvetanovic M. (2017) Bimodal function of astroglia in SCA1 disease. Poster at International Astrocyte School, Bertinoro, Italy. 

ROTATIONS
Sylvain Lesne, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Marija Cvetanovic, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience 
Harry T. Orr, Ph.D., Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Stanley A. Thayer, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE MN? 
Before applying to the graduate program I was and had been performing research on neurodegenerative disease, and in particular, spinoceberellar ataxia type 1. Due to the excellence of the ataxia research and associated faculty at the University of Minnesota, it was a clear and easy choice. At the University of Minnesota, there are great research faculty that cover topics from molecular and cellular mechanisms all the way to biomarker discovery in patients. With such a great range of topics within the field of neurodegenerative disease, the University of Minnesota was a clear and obvious choice. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A FIRST YEAR GRADUATE STUDENT?
Identify in which lab you rotate that you enjoy the most and is doing the work that you would like to be doing. By doing so, you will be a happier and more productive researcher.  

Austin Ferro