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Kimberly Fiock Defends her Pathology M.S. Thesis

July 21, 2020

Dr. Marco Hefti and Kimberly Fiock

Kimberly Fiock (M.S. in Pathology) successfully defended her thesis entitled “The Developmental Expression and Regulation of Tau” this July. Kimberly performed her thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Marco Hefti where she focused on the role of the tau protein in neurodevelopment. The tau protein is heavily involved in the formation of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease, but there is a lack of understanding regarding its normal function during development. Kimberly mapped the expression pattern of tau protein and mRNA in the fetal brain, as well as in immortalized neuronal cells and stem cell-derived cortical organoids, to help establish analogous model systems to use for future testing on tau regulation. She also described, for the first time in humans, the role of two regulatory factors that affect tau expression during development. In additional to Dr. Hefti, Drs. Munir Tanas, Alex Bassuk, and Steve Moore served on Kimberly’s thesis committee. Kimberly has been accepted to the Experimental Pathology PhD program at The University of Iowa, where she will continue her work in Dr. Hefti’s lab.