Emma Watson Roberts

Email: etwatson@wisc.edu

Education

Ph.D. Comparative Biomedical Sciences | University of Wisconsin-Madison; Madison, WI
B.Sc. in Biology, Minor in Fine Arts | University of Wisconsin-Madison; Madison, WI
 

Research Summary

Emma Watson Roberts is a Ph.D. candidate in the Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBMS) graduate program. Her research focuses on membrane trafficking that supports the synaptic vesicle (SV) cycle. As a member of Dr. Ed Chapman’s lab, Emma’s thesis work highlights gaps in our knowledge of how synaptic vesicle proteins are delivered to nerve terminals, turned over, and are ultimately destroyed to support neurotransmitter release and a healthy nervous system. Her current projects include studying the transport pathway for SV proteins, where she discovered that synaptotagmin-1 (SYT1) and synaptobrevin-2 (SYB2) are selectively delivered to axons, and do not traffic through dendrites as was previously believed. Using HaloTags in pulse-chase assays, Emma also found that SV proteins are first delivered to the pre-synaptic plasma membrane, upon arrival at the pre-synapse, where they are eventually incorporated into SVs. These observations provide a glimpse of the first half of the life cycle of SV proteins.

Emma’s interest in cell biology stems from her curiosity of the world, and you can, more often than not, find her looking at something under a microscope.

a. Watson, E.T., Pauers, M.M., Vevea, J.D., Chapman, E.R. 2022. “Synaptic Vesicle Proteins Are Selectively Delivered to Axons in Mammalian Neurons.” bioRxiv: 2022.02.08.479521. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.08.479521v1 (February 16, 2022).

b. Ruhl, D.A., Bomba-Warzcak, E., Watson, E.T. et al. 2019. “Synaptotagmin 17 Controls Neurite Outgrowth and Synaptic Physiology via Distinct Cellular Pathways.” Nature Communications 10(1).