Kelly Monk, Vollum Institute, USA
Dr. Monk received her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati in 2006 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 2006-2010. In 2011, she became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Developmental Biology at Washington University. In 2016, Dr. Monk was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and in 2017, she became a Professor at the Vollum Institute in Portland, OR. During her graduate training, Dr. Monk used tissue culture and mouse models to study axon-Schwann cell interactions in preneoplasia and determined that mast cell activation can drive axon-glial dysfunction. As postdoctoral fellow, she discovered that a then orphan adhesion G protein-coupled receptor (aGPCR) Gpr126 is essential for Schwann cell development and myelination in zebrafish and mammals. This, excitingly, defined a new receptor class that controls myelination and opened many new areas of investigation. By leveraging genome-editing capabilities in zebrafish and mouse, Dr. Monk’s lab has begun to define the repertoire of aGPCRs required in myelinating glial cell development and myelin repair. The Monk lab has also contributed to the rapidly growing and dynamic aGPCR field by defining new ligands and activation mechanisms for this enigmatic receptor class. The Monk lab has also leveraged the power of zebrafish genetics coupled with synergistic approaches in mouse, and is now armed with >30 mutants from new forward genetic screens that can address key outstanding questions in glial cell biology and neuroscience.
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