Integrating experimental biology, computer science, and statistics has enabled us to expedite research on Huntington’s disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder that causes dementia in middle aged individuals. Although Huntington’s disease is a disease that affects humans, the molecular pathways that lead to the the onset of neuron death can be studied within the budding yeast system. We are currently developing an algorithm that will recognize specific cell division defects out of multiple images without the need of human intervention. The goal of the algorithm is to be able to quantify budding yeast cell morphological defects at rates 100 times faster than by quantification via subjective analysis. This algorithm will undoubtedly expedite our quantification efforts towards finding the biological relevance of the Huntingtin protein and its interaction with Huntingtin Interacting Protein-1, as well as how polyQ overexpansion on the Huntingtin protein itself lead to neurodegeneration.
Both McKeith and Felix have been participants in CSoI's summer research & data workshop.
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