Dr. Andrea Holgado is a Professor of Biological Sciences.  She teaches Cell Biology, Cancer Biology and Social Justice, and Neurobiology of Mental Illness. Additionally, she mentors undergraduates in neuroscience research and serves on the McNair Scholar Program advisory board and the i4 Institute for Interdisciplinary Science leadership team.


Dr. Holgado joined the St. Edward's University faculty in August 2017. She earned her Bachelor’s in Biology Education, Bachelor’s in Biology, and Ph.D. in Biology from the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. Before becoming faculty at St. Edward’s University, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her postdoctoral research focused on the molecular analysis of synapse formation and maintenance in hippocampal neurons in culture and in the model organism C. elegans. She began her career in teaching in 2005 as a non-tenure-track instructor in the biology department at Loyola University in Chicago and in 2008 joined the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU), serving as an assistant and associate professor and department chair until 2017. Working at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) SWOSU and St. Edward’s University, she emphasizes research in science education using high-impact practices to train future members of the bioscience workforce, including by using course-embedded research in laboratory courses as well as mentoring undergraduates in research as a co-curricular capstone experience. Since 2008, she has mentored over 70 undergraduates, published 10 research manuscripts, contributed to over 100 conference presentations, and served as the PI of OCAST, OK-INBRE, OK-EPSCoR, NSF-RUI, NSF Major Research Instrumentation, and NSF HSI grants. These efforts have resulted in her receipt of national and regional awards from the Institutional Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, and the Oklahoma House of Representative Harold Wright.

 

 

 

Teacher & Scholar Philosophy


To describe my philosophy as an educator and scientist succinctly, I must quote Dr. Rosalyn Yallow, co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. During the Nobel Prize banquet speech, Dr. Yalow said, "we bequeath to you, the next generation, our knowledge but also our problems. While we still live, let us join hands, hearts, and minds to work together for their solution so that your world will be better than ours and the world of your children even better".

Academic Appointments

Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, St. Edward's University, August 2017-present.

Director, Institute for Interdisciplinary Science, St. Edward's University, October 2018-2020.

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, SWOSU, August 2012-2017.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, SWOSU, August 2008-2012.

Year Started

Languages Spoken

Spanish and English

Education

M.B.A., Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, OK, 2015.

Ph.D. Biology, National University of Córdoba, Argentina, 1997.

B.S. Biology, National University of Córdoba, Argentina, 1993.

B.S. Secondary Science Education (Biology), National University of Córdoba, Argentina, 1991.

Achievement & Involvement

Honors and Awards

2020    Named member of the NIH-Delaware INBRE External Advisory Committee, DE.

2018    Innovation fellow, St. Edward's University.

2018    NSCI Dean Award for Excellence in Research, St. Edward's University.

2017    Named member of the International Women Forum, chapter Argentina.

2015    Named National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences.

2013    Mentoring recognition awarded by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

2012    Outstanding Mentor "Sidney A. McNairy, Jr." Award awarded by the Institutional Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).                       

2008    Excellence in Teaching Award, Loyola University Chicago.        

Research

Research

The main goal of my research team is to elucidate the mechanism(s) involved in neuronal signaling and neuroplasticity. To accomplish this goal, we isolate and characterize mutants that disrupt these processes in the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). 

Currently, we are using nematode models to better understand two fundamental processes that are crucial to both neuronal signaling and neuroplasticity: (1) the development and maintenance of the neural network and (2) cellular autophagy.  These two processes are generally assumed to be independent of one another; however, we have uncovered exciting new data that suggests the protein UNC-33 (the C. elegans homolog of collapsin response mediator protein or CRMP), which is well-known for controlling axon length, can modulate autophagy by a mechanism that we do not fully understand. Consequently, our current research areas are UNC-33 and autophagy and their roles in orchestrating neuronal development and survival.

Currently, we are using nematode models to better understand two fundamental processes that are crucial to both neuronal signaling and neuroplasticity: (1) the development and maintenance of the neural network and (2) cellular autophagy.  These two processes are generally assumed to be independent of one another; however, we have uncovered exciting new data that suggests the protein UNC-33 (C. elegans homolog of collapsin response mediator protein or CRMP), which is well-known for controlling axon length, can modulate autophagy by a mechanism that we do not fully understand. Consequently, our specific area of research is UNC-33 and autophagy as they orchestrated neuronal development and survival.

External Grants

Active Grants

1) Principal investigator of the NSF RUI Award: Examining molecular players integrating autophagy and axonal elongation
(#1748523; $634,500). April 2017-August 2022.

2) Principal investigator of the NSF MRI Award: Acquisition of a versatile, user-friendly, automated fluorescence microscope to promote research performed by faculty and undergraduates at a Hispanic-serving institution (#1826871; $207,310). October 2018-September 2021.

3) Principal Investigator for the NSF HSI Award: Institute for Interdisciplinary Science (i4): Preparing Students for the 4th Industrial Revolution (#1832282; $1,499,944). October 2018-September 2023.


Publications & Articles

Publications

Nicholas Ashley and Andrea Holgado (2019) The autophagy gene product BEC-1 supports normal aging and neurodevelopment in Caenorhabditis elegans: Integration. microPublication Biology. 10.17912/micropub.biology.0000102

    Hubbard C, Benda E, Hardin T, Baxter T, St John E, O'Brien S, Hensley K, and Holgado AM (2013). "Lanthionine ketimine ethyl ester partially rescues a neuro-developmental defect in UNC-33 (DPYSL2/CRMP2) mutants. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 9:1183-90.

    Guthmueller KL, Yoder ML, and Holgado AM (2011) Determining genetic expression profiles in C. elegans using microarray and real-time PCR.  Journal of Visualized Experiments.  JoVE. 53. 2777

    Wolyniak MJ, Alvarez CJ, Chandrasekaran V, Grana TM, Holgado A, Jones CJ, Morris RW,  Pereira AL, Stamm J, Washington TM, Yang Y (2010) Building better scientist through cross-disciplinary collaboration in synthetic biology: A meeting report for the genome consortium for active teaching (GCAT) workshop 2010. CBE Life Sciences Education. 9:399-404.

    Gracheva EO, Burdina AO, Holgado AM, Berthelot-Grosjean M, Ackley BD, Hadwiger G, Nonet ML, Weimer RM, Richmond JE. (2006) Tomosyn Inhibits Synaptic Vesicle Priming in Caenorhabditis elegans.  PLoS Biol. 25;4(8):e261

    Kay AR, Alfonso A, Alford S, Cline HT, Holgado AM, Sakmann B, Snitsarev VA, Stricker TP, Takahashi M, Wu LG. (1999)  Imaging synaptic activity in intact Brain and slices with FM1-43 in C. elegans, lamprey, and rat.  Neuron. 24:809-17.

    Nonet ML, Holgado AM, Brewer F, Serpe C, Norbeck B, Holleran J, Wei, Hartwieg E, Jorgensen EM, and Alfonso A (1999) UNC-11, a Caenorhabditis elegans AP180 homologue, regulates the size and protein composition of synaptic vesicles.  Mol Biol Cell. 10:2343-60.

    Holgado A, Ferreira A. (2000)  Synapse formation proceeds independently of dendritic elongation in cultured hippocampal neurons.  J Neurobiol. 43:121-31.

    Holgado A. and Beaugé L. (1996) Effects of external monovalent cations on Na+/Ca+2 exchange in cultured rat glial cells. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 779:279-281.

    Holgado A. and Beaugé L. (1995) The Na+/Ca+2 exchange system in rat glial cells in culture: activation by external monovalent cations. Glia 14(2):77-86.

    Cocucci AA, Holgado AM, Anton AM. (1996) Estudio morfologico y anatomico de los eleoforos pedicelados de Dinemandra ericoides, Malpigiacea endemica del desierto de Atacama, Chile. Darwiniana 34. 183-192. (Eng.)

    Department Group

    School Group

    School of Natural Sciences