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Aleister Saunders, PhD

Aleister Saunders, PhD

Senior Vice Provost for Research
Department of Biology
Office: 104 Left Bank
Phone: 215.895.6772
Lab Location: PISB 401 C2
Lab Phone: 215.895.6884
Additional Sites: The Saunders Lab


  • BS, Pennsylvania State University
  • PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Post-doctoral Training, Harvard Medical School

Research Interests:

My laboratory focuses its research efforts on identifying and characterizing genes and pathways that are involved in pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We believe our efforts will lead to the identification of novel therapeutic strategies to delay or prevent onset of AD. To this end we have worked collaboratively to develop novel animal models of AD that we utilize to confirm and extend our observations from cellular models. The research in the lab is carried out by post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students that work on individual and group projects and always in constant interaction with me. I am committed to creating an interactive, nurturing and exciting research experience for all of the members of my laboratory. Please feel free to contact myself or the members of my lab if you have any questions.

Selected Publications:

  • Vorobyeva AG, Lee R, Miller S, Longen C, Sharoni M, Kandelwal PJ, Kim FJ, Marenda DR, Saunders AJ. Cyclopamine modulates γ-secretase-mediated cleavage of amyloid precursor protein by altering its subcellular trafficking and lysosomal degradation. J Biol Chem. 2014 Nov 28;289(48):33258-74. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.591792. Epub 2014 Oct 3. PubMed PMID: 25281744; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4246084.
  • Mhatre SD, Michelson SJ, Gomes J, Tabb LP, Saunders AJ, Marenda DR. Development and characterization of an aged onset model of Alzheimer's disease in Drosophila melanogaster. Exp Neurol. 2014 Nov;261:772-81. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2014.08.021. Epub 2014 Aug 27. PubMed PMID: 25173219.
  • Wang H, Saunders AJ. The role of ubiquitin-proteasome in the metabolism of amyloid precursor protein (APP): implications for novel therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease. Discov Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;18(97):41-50. PubMed PMID: 25091487.
  • Mhatre SD, Satyasi V, Killen M, Paddock BE, Moir RD, Saunders AJ, Marenda DR. Synaptic abnormalities in a Drosophila model of Alzheimer's disease. Dis Model Mech. 2014 Mar;7(3):373-85. doi: 10.1242/dmm.012104. Epub 2014 Jan 30. PubMed PMID: 24487408; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3944497.
  • Reza MA, Mhatre SD, Morrison JC, Utreja S, Saunders AJ, Breen DE, Marenda DR. Automated analysis of courtship suppression learning and memory in Drosophila melanogaster. Fly (Austin). 2013 Apr-Jun;7(2):105-11. doi: 10.4161/fly.24110. Epub 2013 Apr 1. PubMed PMID: 23644900; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3732329.
  • Mhatre SD, Paddock BE, Saunders AJ, Marenda DR. Invertebrate models of Alzheimer's disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;33(1):3-16. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-121204. Review. PubMed PMID: 22886023.
  • Hooli BV, Mohapatra G, Mattheisen M, Parrado AR, Roehr JT, Shen Y, Gusella JF, Moir R, Saunders AJ, Lange C, Tanzi RE, Bertram L. Role of common and rare APP DNA sequence variants in Alzheimer disease. Neurology. 2012 Apr 17;78(16):1250-7. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182515972. Epub 2012 Apr 4. PubMed PMID: 22491860; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3324321.
  • Distefano GM, Gangemi AJ, Khandelwal PJ, Saunders AJ, Marenda DR. Drosophila lilliputian is required for proneural gene expression in retinal development. Dev Dyn. 2012 Mar;241(3):553-62. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.23738. Epub 2012 Jan 25. PubMed PMID: 22275119.
  • Hiltunen M, Bertram L, Saunders AJ. Genetic risk factors: their function and comorbidities in Alzheimer's disease. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;2011:925362. doi: 10.4061/2011/925362. Epub 2011 Aug 11. PubMed PMID: 21876830; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3160713.
  • Chakraborty R, Vepuri V, Mhatre SD, Paddock BE, Miller S, Michelson SJ, Delvadia R, Desai A, Vinokur M, Melicharek DJ, Utreja S, Khandelwal P, Ansaloni S, Goldstein LE, Moir RD, Lee JC, Tabb LP, Saunders AJ, Marenda DR. Characterization of a Drosophila Alzheimer's disease model: pharmacological rescue of cognitive defects. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20799. doi:1371/journal.pone.0020799. Epub 2011 Jun 6. PubMed PMID: 21673973; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3108982.
  • Ansaloni S, Leung BP, Sebastian NP, Samudralwar R, Gadaleta M, Saunders AJ. TrkB Isoforms Differentially Affect AICD Production through Their Intracellular Functional Domains. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2011 Feb 24;2011:729382. doi:10.4061/2011/729382. PubMed PMID: 21423675; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3056454.