Diane Carlisle

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Diane Carlisle, PhD, joined the Department of Neurological Surgery in October 2010. She received her undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Washington and Jefferson College and her graduate degree in molecular and cellular oncology from George Washington University where she identified new signaling pathways involved in occupational causes of lung cancer.

Dr. Carlisle came to the University of Pittsburgh after a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University under the mentorship of Robert Casero Jr., PhD, in drug development for lung cancer. She then developed an independent research program using stem cells to investigate adult disease.

The mission of her laboratory is to use human pluripotent stem cells to model disease. She has an active program using stem cells generated from tissue samples donated by sporadic ALS patients and by Huntington’s Disease patients. By differentiating these cells into mature neurons, she is able to identify neurologic disease specific changes in mitochondrial function. In addition, she uses her expertise in pluripotent stem cell methods and directed differentiation to collaborate in her department, and across the university, in cross disciplinary projects that use pluripotent stem cell technologies.

Dr. Carlisle serves as faculty for the NIH-funded stem cell course, Frontiers in Stem Cells and Regeneration, which is held annually at the Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole, Mass.

In the past year, Dr. Carlisle used patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to investigate mitochondrial function of neural progenitors and neurons from Huntington’s Disease patients. She differentiated iPSCs into neural progenitors and mature neurons and isolated mitochondria for analysis. Dr. Carlisle found proteomic and functional differences between neurons and controls from Huntington’s Disease patients, with implications for neuroinflammatory regulation in the brain during neurodegeneration.

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