Research Investigator Profile

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Flavia Cristina Nery, PhD

  • Instructor in Neurology,
    Harvard Medical School
  • Assistant in Neurology,
    Massachusetts General Hospital



Research Description

Dr. Nery has a Ph.D. in Human Genetic and Molecular Biology, trained in human genetics at the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory and UNICAMP, Brazil.  For her PhD work she earned the award for the “Best PhD Thesis in Biological Sciences in Brazil” in 2005. Since June 2005 she is focusing in the area of neurology with a particular focus on motor disorders, with main focus in dystonia. Her work focuses on understanding the function of the defective protein, torsinA, in DYT1 dystonia patients. During her post-doctoral training she published her discovery about a dynamic role for torsinA in controlling interactions between the nuclear envelope and cytoskeleton critical to nuclear polarization during cell migration. This work was favorably accepted by the Journal of Cell Science in 2008, with her as first author. As a result of her studies in this field, she has since been recruited to become an independent investigator and provided with the space, equipment, and funds to launch her own dedicated research program within the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Nery’s current projects include: the role of torsinA in neuronal migration, the mechanism of drugs that induce dystonia and ER stress in Dystonia and Parkinson’s disease.


Research interests

Motor disorders

Research techniques

genetics, including human genetics, molecular biology and screening development

Diseases studied

Dystonia, Parkinson’s disease

Selected publications
  1. 1.       Hewett JW, Nery FC, Niland BP, Ge, P,Tan P, Philipp Hadwiger, Tannous B, Sah DWY and Breakefield XO (2008). siRNA knock-down of mutant torsinA restores processing through secretory pathway in DYT1 dystonia cells. Hum. Mol. Genet. 17(10):1436-45.
  2. Nery FC, Zeng J, , Niland BP, Hewett JW, Farley J, Irimia D, Li Y, Wiche G, Sonnenberg A and Breakefield XO (2008). TorsinA participates in linkage between nuclear envelope and cytoskeleton. J. Cell. Science 121(20):3476-86.
  3. Cao S, Hewett JW, Yokoi F, Lu J, Buckley AC, Burdette AJ, Chen P, Nery FC, Li Y, Breakefield XO, Caldwell GA and Caldwell KA. (2010). Chemical enhancement of torsinA function in cell and animal models of torsion dystonia. Dis Model Mechanisms 3: 386-396.
  4. Chen P, Burdette AJ, Porter CJ, Ricketts JC, Fox SA, Hewett JW, Nery FC, Berkowitz LA, Breakefield XO, Caldwell KA and Caldwell GA. (2010) The early-onset torsion dystonia associated protein, torsinA, is a homeostatic regulator of intracellular stress. Hum Mol Genet 19(18):3502-15.
  5. Bragg DC, Armata IA, Nery FC, Breakefield XO, and Sharma N (2010), Molecular pathways in dystonia. Neurobiol Dis, in press.
NCBI PubMed link NCBI PubMed Publications
Collaborators Caldwell Lab and Yuqing Li Lab at the University of Alabama
E-mail address
Lab mailing address

Flavia C. Nery, PhD
Room 6217
Massachusetts General Hospital
149 13th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

Lab website Neurogenetic Lab

Updated 05/09/2011

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