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Principal Investigator at Neural Stem Cell Institute
Anne Messer received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the Univ. Oregon Institute of Molecular Biology, studying the genetics of membrane permeation in E. coli. She made the transition to neurogenetics as a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Richard Sidman, Harvard Medical School. Although her major project was with cerebellar development mutants of mice, there was also an active program in retinal disease mutants, with many parallels and interests. During her tenure as an independent neurogenetics research scientist at the Wadsworth Center of the NY State Department of Health (directing the Molecular Genetics Program, and the Laboratory of Human Genetics), and professor of Biomedical Sciences, Univ. at Albany (founding chair of the neuroscience track), she has published over 100 papers on genetics, mechanisms, and therapeutics for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, including papers in Nature, Nature Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Therapy, and major neuroscience journals. She has been funded by multiple NIH grants and several disease foundations, while reviewing grants for over 25 NIH study sections, and 12 national and international funding agencies. In the late 1990s, she pioneered the use of engineered antibody fragments (nanobodies and intrabodies) to counteract the cellular effects of misfolding proteins in stressed and aging cells. Since then, she has amassed a body of publications applying this technology to Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, ranging from antibody engineering and nanobody selection to in vivo delivery by novel gene therapies. There are many commonalities between the neurodegenerative diseases that have been her primary focus and the breakdown of cellular function in Age-related Macular Degeneration. Therefore, she recently moved her most relevant technology and extensive expertise to NSCI, to bring this powerful approach to the exciting stem cell work being done by her long-term colleagues, Drs. Sally Temple and Jeff Stern.