Translating stem cell therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease
Dr. McGinley's research interests lie in identifying novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Her work addresses a critical research area to develop effective therapies for this devastating disease. She currently leads a University of Michigan-based collaborative stem cell initiative with Neuralstem, Inc., to meet this goal.
Dr. McGinley has published an in vitro characterization of a novel human neural stem cell line and proof-of-concept studies demonstrating that intracranial transplantation of this cell type significantly improves cognition and pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. In parallel, Dr. McGinley is assessing MRI-based cell tracking methods for non-invasive imaging of transplanted stem cells within the brain. Having recently received National Institutes of Health funding, Dr. McGinley is a co-investigator on a National Institutes of Aging-funded U01 grant with Dr. Eva Feldman and Dr. Geoffrey Murphy, working to complete the necessary preclinical framework required to advance stem cell transplantation therapy to human clinical trials.
Dr. McGinley is also interested in further understanding mechanisms of neurodegeneration in order to identify novel therapeutic targets for disease. Interestingly, diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome all are associated with a heightened risk of developing cognitive dysfunction, including Alzheimer's disease. In a recently established study with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Dr. McGinley and Dr. Feldman are assessing Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in a Pima Indian cohort with type 2 diabetes to identify patient “signatures” at the gene, protein, lipid, and metabolite levels that predict the onset, progression, and/or severity of cognitive disorders, with an emphasis on early onset Alzheimer's disease.
- BS/MS, Biotechnology, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2005
- PhD, Medicine, Regenerative Medicine Institute at National University of Ireland, Galway, 2011
- Postdoctoral fellowship, Bioengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011-13
- Postdoctoral fellowship, Neurology, University of Michigan, 2013-14
Honors & Awards
- Inaugural Handleman Emerging Scholar