School of Medicine

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  • Mable Lam

    Mable Lam

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Neurosurgery

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMyelin is required for rapid nerve signaling by insulating axons to accelerate action potential propagation. Myelin-forming cells of the central nervous system, called oligodendrocytes, orchestrate one of the most complex morphological transformations in neurobiology. Each oligodendrocyte can extend multiple processes that selectively wrap axons in tens to hundreds of spiraling membrane layers, forming myelin sheaths that vary in thickness and length. Furthermore, oligodendrocytes can respond to neural activity by adding new sheaths or by changing the geometry of pre-existing sheaths to tune neural circuitry, a process known as adaptive myelination.

    What are the membrane trafficking mechanisms that drive adaptive myelination in oligodendrocytes?

    How can these mechanisms be stimulated to promote myelin regeneration in disease?

    By using transgenic mouse models and primary oligodendrocytes, we have found that SNARE-mediated exocytosis drives membrane addition in myelin sheaths. Current research is focused on how these pathways in oligodendrocytes may be regulated during adaptive myelination.