RNA Faculty Spotlight — Eva Feldman, Neurology


Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.N.
Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology
Director, Program for Neurology Research & Discovery
Director, ALS Center of Excellence

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive degeneration of motor neurons that develops from a complex interaction of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors. We are investigating the role of altered RNA and protein metabolism in ALS by focusing on mRNA stability, microRNA dysregulation, RNA exosomes, and microRNA/protein interactions in patient tissues and cellular models. Our study of RNA in ALS will help identify early diagnostic biomarkers and elucidate pathological mechanisms that could point to possible therapeutic targets.
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  • What are your research interests? I have research interests in several diseases that center on neurology. In the diabetes section of my lab, we are using integrated RNA transcriptomic and metabolic approaches to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie diabetic neuropathy, a debilitating and prevalent condition in diabetes patients. We also study microRNA, exosome RNA, and mRNA stability in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive degeneration of motor neurons, to identify early diagnostic biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets.


  • Who/what brought you to science? I am a physician-scientist, so my journey began as a medical doctor. I realized early on that I could improve the care for my patients if we had a deeper understanding of the pathomechanisms underlying neurological diseases. This need stimulated my interest in science, so I pursued a research career as well. I find that my role as a physician-scientist is crucial in many of the research projects my lab undertakes, where I can liaise the clinical aspect with research to accelerate our understanding of neurological diseases.


  • What advice would you give to students who’d like to get more involved in research? There are numerous opportunities at UofM for students who want to get involved in research. There are UofM programs dedicated to matching students’ interests with labs across campus and many labs are very receptive to students who reach out directly. Students can also visit lab websites, which frequently posts openings.


  • Are there any opportunities for students to engage in your projects, currently or in the future? What skills would they need, and what could they expect to learn? We love the opportunity to welcome students into our lab and many undergraduate students have passed through our doors. They are an integral part of our team and advance our lab mission, which is high quality, high impact research. We also value long-lasting ties with the students who join us and enjoy seeing what they go on to do. We love the opportunity to give them a good place to start their research careers and are proud of all our student alumni.


  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? My father was a professional radio and TV announcer, and met the most amazing people, from politicians to RNA scientists! I have often thought it would be very interesting to have a position in broadcasting, but still not nearly as rewarding as what I do now.

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