Research Investigator Profile


  • NIH Biosketch


Michele Maxwell

  • Instructor,
    Harvard Medical School

Research Description

Michele Maxwell, PhD is examining the possibilities of using a cutting-edge technique called RNA interference as a way to understand ALS and mimic the effects of potential therapeutics. In ALS, there is a gene called SOD1 which, when mutated,
causes inherited forms of the disease. RNA is the material that translates the gene and encodes SOD1 protein. By turning off
or interfering with SOD1 RNA, scientists can prevent the production of defective proteins that lead to disease.

Dr.Maxwell’s goal is to use mouse models that have been bred to express mutant SOD1 and then to turn it off in adulthood
by activating RNAi. While her methods would not currently work in humans, these animals can be used to study whether
using therapeutics that interfere with SOD1 RNA in adulthood would be an effective therapeutic approach. She will also be
able to see, in real time, how shutting off SOD1 changes the biological functioning of the mouse’s brain, thereby providing
important clues about how to change to course of the disease.


Research interests Genetics
Diseases studied ALS
Selected publications

Evaluation of histone deacetylases as drug targets in Huntington's disease models. Study of HDACs in brain tissues from R6/2 and CAG140 knock-in HD mouse models and human patients and in a neuronal HD cell model.

Quinti L, Chopra V, Rotili D, Valente S, Amore A, Franci G, Meade S, Valenza M, Altucci L, Maxwell MM, Cattaneo E, Hersch S, Mai A, Kazantsev A.

PLoS Curr. 2010 Sep 2;2. pii: RRN1172.
NCBI PubMed link NCBI PubMed Publications
E-mail address
Lab mailing address MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease
Building 114, Room 3200
114 16th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

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