SERGIO PADILLA-LOPEZ, PHD
Research Assistant Professor
I’m a basic scientist trained in the fields of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. The focus of my career has been the use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for researching fundamental molecular and cellular processes and as a model to understand human disease. As a member of Dr Kruer lab, my work is mainly focused in the validation using yeast complementation of candidate gene variants obtained from a genetic screen of individuals with Cerebral Palsy developed in our laboratory. I believe yeast is a powerful model that will be key for this project and its capabilities reach beyond genetic validation of candidate genes. Yeast two hybrid studies can be used to analyze interactions between candidate proteins and yeast cells are exceptionally useful as a “clean room” for expressing human proteins and study their activity, allowing a deeper analysis of the biochemistry beneath the cellular pathway associated with Cerebral Palsy. Also, I am interested in defining the cellular mechanisms controlling Coenzyme A production and compartmentalization in human cells. The elucidation of these cellular processes will help us to understand the molecular basis underlying PKAN and CoPAN, two forms of neurodegenerative diseases that are caused by mutations in PANK2 and COASY genes respectively, encoding for two enzymes of the Coenzyme A biosynthesis pathway. Our findings will hopefully provide new targets for interventions and future strategies for the treatment.