Chenxu Li is currently a PhD student from the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Chenxu earned her BS degree in Pharmaceutical Analysis from Shenyang Pharmaceutical University in 2019. Upon graduation, she continued research as a graduate student and earned her MS degree in Pharmaceutics from the University of Minnesota in 2021. Soon after, she began investigating novel therapies for adrenoleukodystrophy as a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Reena Kartha.
Project: Nervonic Acid-A Potential Therapeutic Targeting Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Cellular Oxidative Stress
Mutations in the adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) protein result in the accumulation of very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs), which in turn causes the elevation of harmful substances including reactive oxygen species. This can also further damage other cellular components such as the mitochondria, the energy source of the cells. Chenxu’s research mainly focuses on developing novel therapies for ALD, specifically targeting the effect of these toxic chemicals on mitochondria. She will investigate the mechanism of Nervonic Acid (NA), a dietary fatty acid, that can arrest or delay disease progression in ALD. By treating cells derived from patients with ALD using NA, this study will investigate how NA can mitigate the toxic chemicals and positively affect energy production in cells. Her hope is to develop NA as a safe and effective dietary intervention that can benefit all individuals with ALD.