Alexandra Byrne

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New address:

Department of Neurobiology

University of Massachusetts Medical School


Research Interests

Genetics of axon regeneration, age-related decline in axon regeneration, and axon degeneration.

I study the genetic mechanisms that regulate axon regeneration in the ageing nervous system. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Hammarlund lab, I found axon regeneration is actively inhibited in aged adult motor neurons, and is regulated by insulin signaling. These findings led me to identify and characterize multiple conserved and previously unidentified regulators of axon regeneration, including poly ADP-ribosylation. My investigations are largely carried out in C. elegans, a model in which conserved regulators of axon regeneration are studied in vivo and in a matter of days. I learned the beauty and strength of C. elegans genetics and genomics as a PhD. student in Dr. Peter Roy’s lab at the University of Toronto. There, I studied neuromuscular development and developed a high-throughput approach to identify synthetic genetic interactions among conserved signal transduction pathways. I am now using genetic, genomic, and chemical tools to investigate how axon regeneration is regulated in an age- and tissue-specific manner in response to injury and degeneration.