Adam Haberman, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biology
Adam Haberman, PhD, joined the faculty in the Fall of 2013. He teaches courses in cell biology and genetics. In his research, he uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, to study the specialized cell biology of neurons. In particular, he is interested in the processes that promote the remarkable longevity of neurons compared to other types of cells.
1996–2003 Ph.D. in Cell Biology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
1992–96 B.S. in Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin
Postdoctoral researcher at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Scholarly and Creative Work
The Haberman lab studies the specialized cell biology of neurons that allows them to stay healthy and functional longer than most other cells. While most cells in a multicellular organism are removed and replaced as they age, neurons are difficult to replace correctly, and instead must work to maintain themselves for the life of the organism. To accomplish this difficult task, neurons have become experts at cellular processes that prevent or repair damage, including DNA repair and autophagy. When these processes fail, neurons break down, leading to the onset of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimers Disease and Parkinsons Disease. We are working to understand how neurons have adapted these cellular processes to promote longevity, and how these processes are disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases. We focus on the neurons of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, allowing us to take advantage of their short lifespan and the many genetic techniques that have been developed for Drosophila research. We are able to manipulate gene expression in specific subsets of neurons, and then test their ability to function as the flies age over just a few weeks. In most cases, our findings from Drosophila neurons are true in other organism as well, including mice and humans.
Professor Haberman teaches classes in genetics and cell biology. He enjoys showing students the basic processes of all cells, and showing how these processes affect all levels of biology, from physiology to evolution. He is also excited about teaching the science underlying current medical technology. As genome sequencing moves into medical practice, it will become important for both doctors and patients to understand what genetics can tell us and what it does not tell us. Professor Haberman also teaches a course in the Cellular Basis of Human Disease, in which students investigate the cell biology that underlies diseases of their own choosing.