- Research Program Mentor
PhD at University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Alzheimers, neuroscience, neurodegenerative disease, cell biology, axon initial segment, tau protein, human brain
BioMerci Best, PhD is passionate about studying tau-associated diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Her PhD research studied a process that occurs about 10 to 20 years before an individual starts to show any symptoms of Alzheimer’s. With the new knowledge, Merci discovered in the lab, future research can leverage her findings to aid in the development of medicine that helps protect the brain cells from being damaged. In addition to Merci's passion for science, she is also excited about encouraging students to pursue science and related careers. She also is an avid dancer and has experience with liturgical, west African, hip-hop, and swing dance forms. Merci also loves the visual arts, specifically drawing and painting.
Exploring the Axon Initial Segment in Brain Disorders
Neurons are brain cells that have three main parts, the somatodendritic compartment, the axon initial segment, and the axon-axon terminal. The axon initial segment is instrumental for the neuronal function. However recent evidence suggests that the axon initial segment is disrupted in brain disorders like epilepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar, Autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases.