Return to list Valerie Anne Schumacher, PhD


Valerie Anne Schumacher, PhD


Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Research Associate, Boston Children’s Hospital




Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115





Our major research interest is to understand the mechanisms whereby mRNA transport and localized translation regulates actin cytoskeleton dynamics in the brain and kidney.  In both organs actin remodelling is thought to be critically involved in proper function. In the brain it affects spine morphogenesis and in the kidney it is involved in the maintenance of the podocyte cytoarchitecture and in the integrity of the glomerular filtration barrier. Our studies focus on the role of the RNA binding protein Staufen 1 and Staufen 2 in locally regulating actin dynamics.

We have gained preliminary data using immortalized podocytes and our newly developed conditional Staufen 2 knockout mouse. This mouse was generated with the help of Margaret Thompson at the IDDRC Mouse Gene Manipulation Core. Our data demonstrates that Staufen 2 is involved in re-establishing the actin cytoskeleton in cultured podocytes in response to injury. In addition, we show that Staufen 1/2  double KO mice are more susceptible to injury and develop proteinuria earlier than wild type mice.

Recent studies have provided evidence for a role of Staufen 2 in synapse formation, spine morphogenesis and cortical neuron development. These studies were performed using cultured cells and thus have their limitations. We are now in the situation to validate these findings in vivo using our newly developed and unique Staufen 2 KO mouse. In addition, we are using Staufen 2 single and Staufen 1/2  double KO mice to establish that Staufen proteins have an important function in learning and memory. The core facilities at the IDDRC and our collaboration with Dr. Michael Kiebler, University of Munich, who is one of the leading experts in mRNA transport in neurons will be of great help to foster this project.

A Role For Mrna Transport And Local Translation In Podocytes - R01 DK091299