Graduate Student Profile - Matt Strobel

Matt Strobel, PhD StudentMatt Strobel


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Xuanmao Chen

Research Topic: The role of primary cilia signaling in major depression disorder

Primary cilium are a small cell organelle found on almost every cell and serve as an antenna, sending and receiving all manner of cellular signals. Just as your cell phone would be useless without it’s antennae, when cells have issues with their primary cilium there are a wide range of problems that can occur. From delayed mental development, obesity, and polydactylism, to situs inversus, polycystic kidney disease, congenital heart disease, and many more.

For my research I’m investigating the link between the neuronal primary cilium protein AC3, and major depression disorder. MDD effects over 200 million people worldwide and despite AC3 continually appearing as a gene of interest in these patients, very little is understood about its role in MDD. I’m currently doing a mix of animal behavior experiments investigating how silencing AC3 in different brain regions alters behavior. As well as attempting to establish a cell culture model for studying neuronal primary cilia so we can better study the molecular mechanisms of this protein.

Hobbies: In my undergrad I was the captain of the ski team and still love trying to get as many days on snow each winter as I can as well as getting to UConn’s ski races. I’m also a surfer and am at the beach year-round.

Why I chose UNH: I graduated from UConn with a background in plant developmental genetics and knew I had a passion for genetics, but I also knew that I wanted to move away from plants and into the medical/human health side. After considering several programs, I met with Dr. Chen and found his research to be really interesting and exciting. I also love the New England area and couldn’t imagine going to school anywhere far from the mountains and ocean.