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Our laboratory studies the pathobiology underlying neurodegenerative diseases. We are interested in the discovery of pathways whose dysfunction contributes to neuronal death observed in a motor neuron disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and dementias such as Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). A hallmark neuropathological feature of neurodegenerative diseases is intracellular protein inclusions. We employ novel approaches to assess both the molecular triggers that initiate inclusion formation and identify modifiers of these pathological inclusions. Commonly used strategies in our laboratory include the generation of induced pluripotent stem cell neurons from ALS/FTD patient fibroblasts, optogenetic induction of neurodegenerative proteinopathies, and light-induced assembly of functional membraneless ogranelles.