Genomics and proteomics and their potential application to disease and therapy persuaded Hope Mirendil to participate in the T-1 program. As a trainee, she is investigating whether cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of the potent signaling molecule, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), provide a clue to the etiology of hydrocephalus, one of the most common developmental disabilities. In previous research with an animal model, her lab has shown that LPA delivered into the mouse fetal brain causes distinct morphological and cellular changes in postnatal mice that are similar to those occurring in human hydrocephalus.
Her current research involves frequent collaborations with Rady Children’s Hospital physicians who provide CSF samples from normal babies as well as human infants with hydrocephalus. In a laboratory at TSRI, she is measuring the samples’ LPA levels and continuing to use the mouse model in order to understand the possible role of viral-mediated increases in LPA in fetal hydrocephalus. She also plans to investigate the possibility that drugs targeting LPA receptors could prevent viral-mediated fetal hydrocephalus.
Hope was awarded the B.S. degree in biotechnology from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. As an undergraduate student, she was a summer research assistant in Calvin College’s Biology Department in 2005, 2006 and 2008. In 2007, she was a summer research assistant in the University of California at Los Angeles’ Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics Department.