Who We Are

We are a group of 3 trainees at Duke University who have passion for studying neurodegenerative diseases. We are pioneers to foster collaboration between neurodegeneration experts from academia, medicine, and industry in North Carolina. We aim to bridge gaps between research, patient care, and therapy development to challenge neurodegenerative diseases.

Shiyi WangShiyi Wang is a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University. Shiyi received her Ph.D. in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Iowa with Amy Lee working on neuronal voltage-gated calcium channels. She developed an interest in the role of astrocytes in neurodegenerative disorders during her postdoctoral training with Cagla Eroglu and Albert La Spada. She is interested in understanding how astrocyte dysfunction contributes to the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders.

Luke BarteltLuke Bartelt is a PhD Candidate in the Genetics and Genomics program at Duke University studying in the laboratories of Dr. Albert La Spada and Dr. Craig Lowe. Luke’s goal for his PhD research is to better understand the genomic underpinnings of Neurodegeneration through the application of next-generation and single-cell sequencing technologies. Utilizing a genetic mouse model of Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 7 (SCA7), he hopes to pinpoint the upstream genomic pathways and cell-type selective mechanisms of SCA7 to find disease modulating therapies.

Pia RodriguezPia Rodriguez is a Cell Biology PhD Candidate in the laboratory of Dr. Cagla Eroglu at Duke University. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology at UNC-Chapel Hill. After undergrad, Pia studied and developed stem-cell-derived therapies for neonatal lung disease at the Regenerative Medicine Lab at United Therapeutics, NC. At Duke, Pia is a 2020 PD Soros Fellow and a 2021 HHMI Gilliam fellow investigating the role of mitochondria in astrocyte development and function in health and disease.

What We Believe

We believe that the key to combating neurodegenerative disease lies at the junction and collaboration of academic researchers, biotech researchers, clinicians, and patients in the field of neurodegeneration.

What We Do

We organize events to bring together scientists, clinicians, patients, and care providers into a collaborative network to answer important questions in neurodegenerative disorders.