Aerial view of Fisk University in Nashville, TN

Nashville, Tenn.–Zeinab Yadegari, a Fisk University Postdoctoral Research Fellow, has received $300,000 from The National Science Foundation (NSF), a government agency that funds scientific research. Yadegari’s goal is to take a closer look at dopamine (DA) -related mental disorders with the hope that this new undertaking can help people affected by clinical depression, drug addiction, schizophrenia, or Parkinson’s disease.

Millions of people around the world struggle with mental illness and addiction brought on by DA dysregulation. There is still a lack of techniques for monitoring DA levels or DA neuron activity in the brain, despite its well-known significance in processes like motor control, reward-motivated actions, and learning. 

This project’s main objective is to create two distinct types of DA biosensors in C. elegans. DA biosensors are a brand-new class of instruments that can precisely gauge DA content. C. elegans can be utilized as a model system to investigate the DA pathway because of the significant resemblance between the human brain and this organism’s DA production and metabolism pathways.

The development of this study at Fisk, will allow students to gain access to innovative multidisciplinary research that incorporates protein engineering and nanotechnology in addition to the chance to engage in real research and enhance their academic understanding. Students will have the chance to expand their fundamental STEM knowledge and discover how it relates to cutting-edge biological techniques. They will develop the self-assurance and self-discipline necessary to pursue jobs in STEM and higher education thanks to their hands-on experience in the lab.