Astra Dinculescu, Ph.D.

Academic Title

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

(352) 273-7548 (phone)
(352) 392-0573 (fax)
astra@ufl.edu

Lab

R1-236

About

Dr. Dinculescu received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Florida in 2002. Her main research focus is on developing therapeutic approaches for Usher syndrome type III (USH3A), an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in Clarin-1 (CLRN1) gene, leading to progressive retinal degeneration and hearing loss. In addition, she studies the pathological processes affecting the neural retina/retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)/Bruch’s membrane interface, and the mechanisms leading to the formation of drusen in age-related macular degeneration. She developed an interest in complement C1q tumor necrosis factor-related protein-5 (C1QTNF5) following her discovery that mutant S163R C1QTNF5 forms globular aggregates in the RPE, and accumulates as thick, widespread, extracellular RPE basal laminar deposits. She is currently testing various approaches aimed at preventing the abnormal protein aggregation in RPE, by modulating chaperone expression and targeting the autophagy pathway.