Elizabeth Tank, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Scientist, Neurology


Elizabeth Tank, PhD earned her doctorate degree from Washington University in St. Louis in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology under the guidance of Dr. Heather True-Krob. During her graduate work, she focused on prion biology and mechanisms of protein aggregation utilizing the unicellular eukaryote, S. cerevisiae. Her work highlighted both intrinstic and extrinsic factors that drive yeast protein aggregation. Given Elizabeth’s interest in diseases of protein aggregation, of which aging is the greatest risk factor, she became a postdoctoral fellow in the field of aging biology in Dr. Cynthia Kenyon’s lab at University of California, San Francisco. There she studied neuronal aging in the nematode C. elegans, a unique and elegant model organism.  Elizabeth’s work demonstrated key features of normal neuronal aging and modulators of the neuronal aging process. Following her postdoctoral fellowship, Elizabeth moved to the Neurology department at UM to continue her career focusing specifically on the neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemperal dementia. Her work is in close collaboration with Sami Barmada, MD/PhD. Here her work utilizes ALS patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as a model system. She has identified fundamental aspects of RNA metabolism that appear to be altered in patient-derived cells, and will be investigating these and other aspects of RNA biology in an effort to prevent neurodegeneration in ALS and related diseases.  

Areas of Interest

ALS, RNA metabolism, TDP43, iPSC-derived neurons, protein aggregation, aging 


Graduate Training
  • PhD Developmental Biology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 2008
Research Fellowships
  • NIH NRSA Pre-doctoral Fellowship Ruth L. Kirschstein, 2006-2008
  • A. P. Gianinni Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2010-2013  

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