Faculty Openings

Dr. Shermali Gunawardena

Associate Professor

Cooke 329
phone: (716) 645-4915
e-mail: sg99@bio.buffalo.edu

Dr. Gunawardena's Lab Website

Dr. Gunawardena on Academic Minute Radio Segment Oct 3rd 2013 Discussing Neuronal Blockages and Alzheimer’s: How traffic moves along the neuronal highways in the brain.
Northeast Public Radio (NPR-WAMC)

Work Study Positions


Research Summary

Within axons vital cargoes must be transported over great distances along microtubule tracks to maintain cell viability. In neuronal cells, many proteins function in sending and receiving messages, cell repair, and cell protection. My interest is to elucidate if degeneration of neurons in two neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease or Huntington’s/other polyQ diseases), is related to a defect in this long distance transport system and what mechanisms facilitate the normal transport of APP and huntingtin.

Selected Publications

Kang MJ, Hansen TJ, Michiewicz M, Kaczynski TJ, Fye S, Gunawardena S. (2014) Disruption of axonal transport perturbs bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)- signaling and contributes to synaptic abnormalities in two neurodegenerative diseases. PLoS ONE. Aug 15;9(8):e104617. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104617.

Ehaideb SN, Iyengar A, Ueda A, Iacobucci GJ, Cranston K, Bassuk AG, Gubb D, Axelrod JD, Gunawardena S, Wu C, Manak JR. (2014) prickle modulates microtubule polarity and axonal transport to ameliorate seizures in flies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jul 29;111(30):11187-92. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1403357111.
• Iacobucci GJ, Rahman NA, Valtueña AA, Nayak TK, Gunawardena S. (2014) Spatial and temporal characteristics of normal and perturbed vesicle transport. PLoS ONE. May 30;9(5):e97237
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• Anderson EN#, White JA 2nd#, Gunawardena S. (2014) Axonal transport and neurodegenerative disease: Vesicle-motor complex formation and their regulation. Degenerative Neurological and Neuromuscular Disease 4:29-47. # contributed equally to this work.

Dolma K, Iacobucci GJ, Zheng KH, Shandilya J, Toska E, White JA 2nd, Spina E, Gunawardena S. (2013) Presenilin influences Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3beta (GSK-3β) for kinesin-1 and dynein function during axonal transport. Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Oct 8.

• Gunawardena S.§, Yang G, Goldstein LSB. (2013) Presenilin controls kinesin-1 and dynein activity during axonal transport. Human Molecular Genetics Jun 6 10.1093/hmg/ddt237, §corresponding author.
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• Gunawardena S. (2013) Nanoparticles in the brain: A Potential therapeutic system targeted to an early defect observed in many neurodegenerative diseases. Pharmaceutical Research Apr 27 10.1007/s11095-013-1037-0
• Gunawardena S (2012) .Developing nanotherapies for neurodegenerative diseases: ORMOSIL and its potential in axonal transportTher Deliv. 2012 Oct;3(10):1189-98.
Power D, Srinivasan S, Gunawardena S .(2012) In-vivo evidence for the disruption of Rab11 vesicle transport by loss of huntingtin.Neuroreport. 2012 Nov 14;23(16):970-7.
Barandeh F, Nguyen PL, Kumar R, Iacobucci GJ, Kuznicki ML, Kosterman A, Bergey EJ, Prasad PN, Gunawardena S. (2012) Organically modified silica nanoparticles are biocompatible and can be targeted to neurons in vivo. PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29424.
-> News Link
Kaczynski, T.J., Gunawardena S. (2010) Visualization of the embryonic nervous system in whole-mount Drosophila embryos. J Vis Exp Dec 11;(46). pii: 2150. doi: 10.3791/2150.
Kuznicki, M.L., Gunawardena, S. (2010) In vivo visualization of synaptic vesicles within Drosophila larval segmental axons. J Vis Exp Oct 15;(44). pii: 2151. doi: 10.3791/2151.
Fye, S., Dolma, K., Kang, M.J., Gunawardena, S. (2010) Visualization of larval segmental nerves in 3rd instar Drosophila larval preparations.J Vis Exp. Sep 29;(43). pii: 2128. doi: 10.3791/2128
Falzone T. L., Gunawardena S., McCleary D., Reis G., Goldstein L.S.B. (2010) Kinesin-1 transport reductions enhance human tau hyperphosphorylation, aggregation and neurodegeneration in animal models of taupathies. Hum Mol Genet 19:4399-408.
Stokin, G.B., Almenar-Queralt, A., Gunawardena S., Rodrigues, E.M., Lillo, C., Mount, S.L., Roberts, E.A., Williams, D.S., Goldstein, L.S.B. (2008) Presenilin-medated suppression of amyloid precursor protein-induced axonopathies. Hum Mol Genet 17(22):3474-86.
• Gunawardena, S. and Goldstein, L.S.B. (2005) ‘Polyglutamine diseases and transport problems: Deadly traffic jams on neuronal highways’. Archives of Neurology 62:46-51.
• Gunawardena, S. and Goldstein, L.S.B. (2004) ‘Cargo carrying motor vehicles on the neuronal highway: Transport pathways and neurodegenerative disease’. Journal of Neurobiology 58:258-71.
• Gunawardena, S., Her, L., Laymon, R.A., Brusch, R.G., Niesman, I.R., Sintasath, L., Bonini, N.M., and Goldstein, L.S.B. (2003) Disruption of axonal transport by loss of huntingtin or expression of poly Q protein in Drosophila. Neuron 40:25-40. (see accompanying “Previews” in same issue).
• Gunawardena, S. and Goldstein, L.S.B. (2001). Disruption of axonal transport and neuronal viability by amyloid precursor protein mutations in Drosophila. Neuron 32:389-401.
• Goldstein, L.S.B. and Gunawardena, S. (2000). Flying through the Drosophila cytoskeletal genome. Journal of Cell Biology 150:F63-F68.
• Gunawardena, S. and Rykowski, M.C. (2000). Direct evidence for interphase chromosome movement during the mid-blastula transition in Drosophila. Current Biology 10: 285-288.
• Gunawardena, S., Heddle, E and Rykowski, M. (1995).Chromosomal Puffing” in diploid nuclei of Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Cell Science 108: 1863-1872.
• Gunawardena, S. and Rykowski, M. (1994). Looking at diploid interphase chromosomes. Methods in Cell Biology 44: 393-409.


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