O'Brien Johnson, Reid (2013 - 2016)

Reid is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  He joined the training program in 2013.  His research mentor is Dr. Joseph Loo.  He received a B.S. degree in 2008 from U. Oregon.

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Loo

Research project:

Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is a cytoskeleton protein specifically expressed in astrocytes. Our lab has observed increased levels of degraded GFAP products in cerebral spinal cord fluid (CSF) from trauma subjects. From these observations, we believe that markers specific to traumatic brain injury (TBI) based on GFAP degradation products can be developed. My project will apply different N-terminal-targeting chemistries to determine the GFAP degradation products found in TBI patient CSF samples and identify their mechanism of production. There are over a 1.7 million TBI injuries in the United States annually and quantitative clinical procedures to determine the severity of such injuries are limited. Our preliminary work on TBI biomarkers has already revealed several potential protein products that could be used to gauge the severity of TBI. Further characterization of the GFAP degradation products through N-terminal labeling will allow further refinement and identification of biomarkers specific to TBI.