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Marta Lipinski, PhD

Function and mechanisms of Autophagy in acute CNS injury and age-related neurodegeneration

Autophagy is a catabolic process mediating the turnover of bulk cytoplasmic constituents including organelles and protein aggregates in a lysosome-dependent manner (Figure 1). It is necessary for cellular homeostasis and protects organisms from a variety of diseases, including neurodegeneration and aging. My lab uses a combination of in vivo transgenic mouse models and in vitro cell-based models to investigate the function and mechanisms of autophagy and its perturbation in CNS disease. Our interests include both acute CNS injury due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) and chronic age-related neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease (PD). We are also investigating a potential role for autopahgy in liking history of TBI to development of neurodegeneration and demantia later in life. Our long-term goal is to define novel target molecules and pathways for safe and effective modulation of autophagy as a treatment against neurodegeneration induced by both acute (trauma) and chronic (neurodegenerative diseases) causes.

Figure 1. During autophagy cytoplasmic cargo including proteins, protein aggregates and organelles are sequestered into double-membrane vesicles termed autophagosomes. Autophagosomes then fuse with lysosomes, allowing degradation of their contents by lysosomal proteases. This progress of cargo from sequestration into autophagosomes, to delivery to lysosomes and lysosomal degradation, is termed autophagy flux and is necessary for normal function of autophagy.

Active Grants

NIH R01 NS094527

The Function and Mechanisms of Autophagy in Spinal Cord Injury

PI: Junfang Wu
Role: Co-Investigator

2016 - 2021

NIH R01 NS091218

Function and Mechanisms of Autophagy-lysosomal Pathway in Traumatic Brain Injury

Role: PI

2015 - 2020 (NCE)


Inhibition of the PARK10 gene USP24 as a neuroprotective treatment in Parkinson’s disease

Role: PI

2019 - 2021

FDA 3U01FD005946-03S3

Development of diagnostic biomarkers for determination of traumatic brain injury

Role: MPI (Kane/Lipinski/Jones/Sarkar)

2019 - 2022

University of Maryland System, UMCP & UMB AI + Medicine for High Impact (AIM-HI) Challenge Award

Development of a predictive multi-omics platform for the study of aging and age-associated diseases

Role: MPI (Lipinski/Kane/Cummings/Jones)


2020 - 2023

NIH R01 NS091218

Dysregulation of autophagy-lysosomal function links TBI to late-onset neurodegeneration

Role: PI

2020 - 2025