department of pharmacology

Amy Wilson-Delfosse, Ph.D.


Professor and Associate Dean of Curriculum

Phone: (216) 368-3494
Fax: 216-368-1300
RT300 Wood Research Tower

Medical Education Interests

Dr. Wilson-Delfosse is the Assistant Dean for Basic Science Education within the university track of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Her responsibilities include oversight of the basic science curriculum that integrates across the four years of the Western Reserve2 (WR2) Curriculum. Dr. Wilson-Delfosse’s medical education scholarship interests include: 1) use of team-based learning to teach pharmacology, 2) development and evaluation of online learning modules to supplement a longitudinal pharmacology curriculum within the context of a problem based learning environment, and 3) integration of basic science during the clerkship years. Dr. Wilson-Delfosse is also the Director of the Case Inquiry Group program within WR2. She is a past Harvard Macy Scholar, recipient of the CWRU School of Medicine Scholarship in Teaching Award and is a co-director of the CWRU School of Medicine Scholars Collaboration in Teaching and Learning faculty development program. Dr. Wilson-Delfosse is currently the president of the International Association of Medical Science Educators, a major international health professions association that advances medial education through faculty development and ensures that the teaching and learning of medicine continues to be firmly grounded in science.

Scientific Research Interests

The research interests of the Wilson-Delfosse lab are focused on Ras-related GTPases and the role that these GTPases play in development of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and cancer.

Parkinson’s Disease: Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) is a multi-domain protein that includes both a Ras-related GTPase domain and a MAP kinase kinase kinase domain. Mutations within this protein have been found to be correlated with Parkinson’s Disease. In collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Shu Chen (Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University) it is the goal of the laboratory to understand the molecular mechanisms that lead to LRRK2-mediated PD disease pathogenesis. In collaboration with neurologists from the Movement Disorders Center within the Neurological Institute of University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the laboratory is also working to understand the phenotypic manifestations of known LRRK2 pathogenic mutation carriers. Such studies will likely contribute to enhanced symptom management for PD patients.

Cancer: The laboratory has a longstanding history studying the Rho subfamily of GTPases (Rho, Rac and Cdc42). These proteins are involved in the regulation of cell polarity, motility, cell cycle progression and cellular transformation. Since activation of Ras superfamily GTPases and their associated signal transduction cascades are dependent upon proper positioning of the GTPase in the cell, the lab has been particularly interested in the mechanisms by which this family of GTPases is targeted to the various compartments of the cell. Determination of the cellular processes that regulate membrane targeting and retention of inactive Rho GTPases in the cytosol is a critical component in the overall understanding of Rho GTPase biology. These studies are likely to be relevant to the study of cancer cell growth as well as a variety of other physiological processes that are dependent on cell shape and motility.

A wide variety of techniques are used in the laboratory including PCR-based mutagenesis, transient transfection of mammalian cells, extraction and amplification of DNA from human blood samples, EBV immortalization of human lymphocytes, standard and two-dimensional SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, Western blotting, GST pull down assays, biochemical purifications, and indirect immunofluorescence.

Selected References


*Guo, L., *Gandhi, P., Wang, W., Petersen, R., **Wilson-Delfosse, A., and **Chen, S. (2007) The Parkinson's disease associated protein, leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), is an authentic GTPase that stimulates kinase activity. Exp. Cell Res. 313, 3658-70. *These authors contributed equally; **Co-corresponding authors. Article featured in Exp. Cell Res. "Highlights"

Gandhi, P.N., Wang, X., Zhu, X., **Chen, S., and **Wilson-Delfosse, A.L. (2008) The Roc Domain of Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) is Sufficient for Interaction with Microtubules. J. Neurosci. Res. 86, 1711-20.   **Co-corresponding authors.

Gandhi, P.N., Chen, S.G., and Wilson-Delfosse, A.L. (2008) Leucine-Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2): A Key Player in the Pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease. J. Neurosci. Res. Nov 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Medical Education:

Ornt, D.B., Aron, D.C., King N.B., Clementz, L.M., Frank, S., Wolpaw, T., Wilson-Delfosse, A., Wolpaw, D., Allan, T.M., Carroll, M., Thompson-Shaheen, K., Altose, M.D. and Horwitz, R.I. (2008) Population Medicine in a Curricular Revision at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Academic Medicine 83, 327-31.