Mariah Wu

Entering Class - 2015


Undergraduate Institution and Major:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., Molecular & Cellular Biology and Psychology, 2015

Graduate Advisor

Stanley Thayer, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology

Thesis Committee Members

Description of Graduate Research:

Our lab is interested in how HIV neurotoxins and cannabinoids affect synaptic plasticity. We are interested in the endocannabinoid system because it provides on-demand endogenous neuroprotection against excitotoxic insults. My research aims to examine modulation of this system following exposure to HIV Tat and gp120. I use optical imaging and electrophysiological techniques on primary hippocampal cultures to determine the effects of these neurotoxins on CB1 signaling, and endogenous cannabinoid tone. 

Research Categories

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases & Neural Injury
  • Synaptic Plasticity & Learning

Graduate Level Awards and Honors:

  • NIDA PharmacoNeuroImmunology (PNI) training program, 2017

Graduate Level Publications:

Green MV, Raybuck JD, Zhang X, Wu MM, Thayer SA. Scaling synapses in the presence of HIV.  Neurochem Res. 2018 Mar 14. doi: 10.1007/s11064-018-2502-2.

Graduate Level Abstracts:

  • Wu MM, Thayer SA. Prolonged exposure to HIV-1 Tat modulates the endocannabinoid system. Abstract for poster presentation, Graduate Program in Neuroscience Annual Retreat 2017, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.


Why Did You Choose MN?

The faculty here are conducting top-tier research, especially in the field of neurodegenerative disease. Additionally, the sense of camaraderie among of fellow graduate students and faculty is incomparable to any other program I have experienced.

Wu 2017