Research group: Metabolic Engineering and Diabetes Therapy
I received my B.S. in Biology (2013) and Ph.D. in Biochemistry (2019) both from the University of Kentucky (USA). I did my dissertation work in the lab of Dr. Matthew Gentry studying the mechanisms of Lafora disease (LD), a childhood-onset, fatal epilepsy and glycogen storage disease. I defined the effects of LD-associated patient mutations on protein function using biochemical tools to establish a personalized diagnostic approach for LD. I also studied the structure of the toxic inclusions in LD  and worked on an LD therapy in collaboration with Valerion Therapeutics. We showed that an antibody-enzyme fusion drug degraded the inclusions and rescued metabolic alterations in LD mouse models .
1. Brewer, M. K. et al. Polyglucosan body structure in Lafora disease. Carbohydrate Polymers 240, 116260 (2020).
2. Brewer, M. K. et al. Targeting Pathogenic Lafora Bodies in Lafora Disease Using an Antibody-Enzyme Fusion. Cell Metabolism 30, 689-705.e6 (2019).
The aims of this project are to define the distribution of glycogen synthase expression in neurons and its role in synaptic activation; to understand the role of astrocytic glycogen in cerebral metabolism and exercise tolerance; and to determine the role of glycogen accumulation in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).