Thomas Schwarz
Thomas Schwarz, PhD
Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology

The Schwarz lab studies the cell biology of neurons and seeks to understand how nerve cells work, acquire their shape, and make their connections. We do so with the expectation that understanding how the cell functions can give us insight into the pathology of neurological disorders when those functions fail. Moreover, much as the shape and style of a building is constrained and influenced by the properties of the building materials, so too is the architecture and circuitry of the brain dependent on how these cellular components operate.

The research interests of the Schwarz Lab include 1) axonal transport of organelles, particularly mitochondria, by kinesins and dynein; 2) the development and structural plasticity of synapses; and 3) the trafficking of membrane proteins and exocytosis, particularly in neurons. Our inquiries into these fundamental processes have brought us in contact with translational questions of neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The etiology of Parkinson's Disease and peripheral neuropathies have become a particular concern of our group.

Projects move back and forth between Drosophila melanogaster, mice, rats, and cell lines as the scientific question demands. We approach each question through a combination of genetics, biochemistry, electrophysiology, cell biology, and imaging. In a recent study, for example, we investigated the role of the small GTPase Ral in the plastic modulation of the Drosophila neuromuscular junction to take advantage of the many genetic tools. The lessons of those experiments are now being used to study how Ral may function in hippocampal dendritic spines. Similarly, through Drosophila genetics, we uncovered a central component of the motor/adaptor complex that allows mitochondria to move. That discovery has led to extensive studies in mammalian cells of how mitochondrial movement is regulated in axons and during mitosis.

 

"Our inquiries into these fundamental processes have brought us in contact with translational questions of neurodevelopmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The etiology of Parkinson's Disease and peripheral neuropathies have become a particular concern of our group."

Publications View
Mitochondrial hitch-hiking of Pink1 mRNA supports axonal mitophagy.
Authors: Authors: Harbauer AB, Schwarz TL.
Autophagy
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APP and DYRK1A regulate axonal and synaptic vesicle protein networks and mediate Alzheimer's pathology in trisomy 21 neurons.
Authors: Authors: Wu CI, Vinton EA, Pearse RV, Heo K, Aylward AJ, Hsieh YC, Bi Y, Adeleye S, Fancher S, Duong DM, Seyfried NT, Schwarz TL, Young-Pearse TL.
Mol Psychiatry
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Neuronal mitochondria transport Pink1 mRNA via synaptojanin 2 to support local mitophagy.
Authors: Authors: Harbauer AB, Hees JT, Wanderoy S, Segura I, Gibbs W, Cheng Y, Ordonez M, Cai Z, Cartoni R, Ashrafi G, Wang C, Perocchi F, He Z, Schwarz TL.
Neuron
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Serine/Threonine Protein Phosphatase 2A Regulates the Transport of Axonal Mitochondria.
Authors: Authors: Heo K, Basu H, Gutnick A, Wei W, Shlevkov E, Schwarz TL.
Front Cell Neurosci
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FHL2 anchors mitochondria to actin and adapts mitochondrial dynamics to glucose supply.
Authors: Authors: Basu H, Pekkurnaz G, Falk J, Wei W, Chin M, Steen J, Schwarz TL.
J Cell Biol
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zapERtrap: A light-regulated ER release system reveals unexpected neuronal trafficking pathways.
Authors: Authors: Bourke AM, Schwartz SL, Bowen AB, Kleinjan MS, Winborn CS, Kareemo DJ, Gutnick A, Schwarz TL, Kennedy MJ.
J Cell Biol
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Editorial overview: Cellular Nneuroscience.
Authors: Authors: Cline HT, Schwarz TL.
Curr Opin Neurobiol
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QuoVadoPro, an Autonomous Tool for Measuring Intracellular Dynamics using Temporal Variance.
Authors: Authors: Basu H, Schwarz TL.
Curr Protoc Cell Biol
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Kymolyzer, a Semi-Autonomous Kymography Tool to Analyze Intracellular Motility.
Authors: Authors: Basu H, Ding L, Pekkurnaz G, Cronin M, Schwarz TL.
Curr Protoc Cell Biol
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A High-Content Screen Identifies TPP1 and Aurora B as Regulators of Axonal Mitochondrial Transport.
Authors: Authors: Shlevkov E, Basu H, Bray MA, Sun Z, Wei W, Apaydin K, Karhohs K, Chen PF, Smith JLM, Wiskow O, Roet K, Huang X, Eggan K, Carpenter AE, Kleiman RJ, Schwarz TL.
Cell Rep
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