Clinical and Research Background
Dr. Stewart’s research is focused on the role of glial cells in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Glial cells, particularly astrocytes and microglia, play a key role in maintaining the tightly regulated homeostasis of the brain that is necessary for optimal neuronal activity. In the diseased or injured brain, these glial functions are disrupted, which may cause or exacerbate dysfunction of neurons. Moreover, through their participation in maintaining the blood-brain barrier, and response to injury-related changes in blood-brain barrier permeability, glia play a role in the communication of the brain with the periphery in health and disease. Such communication, including that mediated by the transport of extracellular vesicles, may be a vital step in the transmission of aggregation-prone neurodegeneration-related proteins, which is an important step in the progression of such diseases. Understanding how these changes determine the interacting protective and detrimental effects on neuronal survival, and ultimately brain function, is vital in the search for treatments that will prevent or slow neurodegeneration.
Academic and Medical Appointments
Acting Instructor, Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, 2017-Present
Education and Training
Doctor of Philosophy, Neurobiology and Behavior, University of Washington, Seattle, 2006-2011
Bachelor of Arts, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2002-2005
Latest publications from PubMed