Neuroscientist Makes Forbes 30 under 30

a portrait of Kaela Singleton
Emory postdoctoral researcher and neuroscientist Kaela Singleton studies Menkes disease in children.

Kaela Singleton, a developmental neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Emory in the School of Medicine’s department of cell biology, was named a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient.

She researches the role of mitochondria in Menkes disease, a rare genetic disorder that interferes with how the body regulates copper. 

Singleton aims to empower other diverse scientists as the cofounder and president-elect of Black In Neuro. She is a NINDS DSPAN scholar, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral Enrichment fellow, and co-founder and president-elect of Black In Neuro. 

As a postdoc in the Faundez Lab, she investigates mitochondria integrity and localization in Menkes, which causes a progressive form of childhood neurodegeneration.

 “As an early-career scientist and future independent investigator, my goal is to encourage, inspire, and support trainees to pursue careers in neuroscience and build a sense of belonging within the scientific community,” Singleton says.

Her research is driven by three questions:

1.How are mature, unique neurons generated and maintained in the brain?

2.How do pathologic mechanisms disrupt molecular and cellular events during neuron generation and development?

3.Why do rare genetic diseases preponderantly affect the nervous system of children?

Her postdoctoral research addresses the molecular and cellular events disrupted in Menkes.

 “I am investigating the role of mitophagy in mitochondrial retention seen in Menkes disease by using mouse and Drosophila (fruit fly) models,” she says.

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