See all news

Michelle Wegscheid, MD/PhD trainee, Joins the Gutmann Laboratory

Michelle Wegscheid is an MD/PhD trainee in the Neurosciences Program at Washington University. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013 with a degree in Biochemistry, where she conducted research on the development of botulinum neurotoxin post-exposure therapeutics. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she spent a year at the University of Chicago optimizing nanoparticle-based platforms for the treatment of malignant brain cancer in the laboratory of Dr. Maciej Lesniak. She began medical school at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in the fall of 2014.

Michelle is conducting her PhD training in the laboratory of Dr. David Gutmann at the Washington University Neurofibromatosis (NF) Center, where she hopes to advance our understanding of brain development in individuals with NF1.

Specifically, Michelle is working to define how distinct NF1 gene mutations differentially contribute to the spectrum of neurodevelopmental abnormalities seen in individuals with NF1. For her studies, she is using a series of human induced pluripotent stem cell lines that harbor NF1-patient NF1 mutations. Using these unique stem cell lines, Michelle is generating three-dimensional, self-organizing brain models (“mini-brains”). Her studies are highly likely to advance our understanding of brain development in children with NF1, as well as to help identify what contributes to the spectrum of intellectual and behavioral problems in this common condition.