Cara Westmark

Cara Westmark, PhD

PhD, University of Notre Dame
Senior Scientist, Waisman Center

Contact Information:

Waisman Center
1500 Highland Avenue
Room T507
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 262-9730
Beta-Amyloid in Neurological Diseases Laboratory

Research Statement

Research in my laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of amyloid beta protein precursor (APP) and amyloid beta in synaptic function. Specifically, we're examining the signal transduction pathways and RNA/protein interactions that modulate APP and amyloid beta production in Fragile X syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, Down syndrome and autism.

APP production is regulated through metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) and fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) signaling. Excessive mGluR5 signaling contributes to a high seizure incidence, which is a characteristic phenotype of all of the aforementioned disorders.

We are using a combination of molecular/cellular approaches and behavioral testing paradigms to evaluate the effects of pharmaceutical agents, dietary factors and genetic manipulations on amyloid beta levels, seizure threshold and behavioral phenotypes in mice.

Representative Publications

Westmark CJ. (2011) Concocting the Right Diet for Brain Health. Translational Medicine. 1, 1000106e.

Westmark CJ, Westmark PR, O'Riordan KJ, Ray BC, Hervey CM, Salamat MS, Abozeid SH, Stein KM, Stodola LA, Tranfaglia M, Burger C, Berry-Kravis EM, Malter JS. (2011) Reversal of fragile X phenotypes by manipulation of AβPP/Aβ levels in Fmr1KO mice.. PLoS One. 6(10):e26549.

Westmark CJ, Westmark PR, Malter JS. (2010) Alzheimer's Disease and Down Syndrome Rodent Models Exhibit Audiogenic Seizures. Cara J. Westmark, Pamela R. Westmark and James S. Malter. (2010) , J Alzheimer's Dis . 20, 1009-13.

Westmark CJ, Westmark PR, Beard AM, Hildebrandt SM, Malter JS. (2008) Seizure Susceptibility and Mortality in Mice that Over-Express Amyloid Precursor Protein. International journal of clinical and experimental pathology. Jan 1;1(2):157-68.

Esnault S, Rosenthal LA, Shen ZJ, Westmark CJ, Sorkness RL, Malter JS. (2008) Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin Expression in Allergic Pulmonary Inflammation is Pin1-Dependent. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology .. 121, 1289-90.

Westmark CJ, Malter JS. (2007) FMRP Mediates mGluR5-Dependent Translation of Amyloid Precursor Protein. PLOS Biology. Mar;5(3):e52.