Dr. Malú Tansey

Dr. Malú Gámez Tansey is a tenured Professor in the Department of Physiology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and a member of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (CND). Previously, she was head of the Cell Biology/Chemical Genetics group at Xencor, a private biotechnology company in California.

Her research focus includes investigating the role and regulation of neuroinflammatory and immune system responses in modulating the gene-environment interactions that determine risk for development and progression of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disease.

She has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2015 Emory Neuroscience Graduates in Neuroscience (GIN) Faculty of the Year and the 2016 Emory Medicine Faculty Mentoring Award. Additionally, she is an associate editor for Neurobiology of Disease and the npj journal Parkinson’s Disease.

Dr. Tansey obtained her B.S/M.S in Biological Sciences from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Cell Regulation from UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Dallas, Texas, where she studied the role of MLCK phosphorylation in regulation of smooth muscle contraction. She then moved to St. Louis, Missouri for post-doctoral work at Washington University Medical School in the laboratory of the late Dr. John P. Merlie before settling in the laboratory of Dr. Eugene M. Johnson Jr. in 1996. In collaboration with Jeff Milbrandt’s laboratory, she and her colleagues identified new members of the GDNF Family of Ligands (GFLs: Neurturin, Persephin, and Artemin) and their paired GFR binding co-receptors (GFRalpha2 and 3). They demonstrated their potent bioactivities on multiple neuronal populations. Dr. Tansey’s work was the first demonstration that ligand-induced recruitment of a neurotrophic receptor (Ret) to lipid rafts for interaction with c-Src was functionally required for GFL-induced neuronal survival and differentiation.