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The Lipinski Lab

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Baltimore, MD

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Autophagy is a catabolic process mediating the turnover of bulk cytoplasmic constituents including organelles and protein aggregates in a lysosome-dependent manner. It is necessary for cellular homeostasis and protects organisms from a variety of diseases, including neurodegeneration and aging. The Lipinski lab uses a combination of in vivo transgenic mouse models and in vitro cell-based models to investigate the function and mechanisms of autophagy and its perturbation in the CNS.


Our interests include both acute CNS injury due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) and chronic age-related neurodegenerative disease. We are also investigating a potential role for autopahgy in liking history of TBI to development of neurodegeneration and demantia later in life. Our long-term goal is to define novel target molecules and pathways for safe and effective modulation of autophagy as a treatment against neurodegeneration induced by both acute (trauma) and chronic (neurodegenerative diseases) causes.

Autophagy in brain injury, neurodegeneration and aging

Recent Publications

  • Choi HMC, Li Y, Suraj D, Hsia RC, Sarkar C, Wu J* and Lipinski MM*. Autophagy protein ULK1 interacts with and regulates SARM1 during axonal injury. PNAS. 2022; e2203824119. PMID: 36375051


  • Hegdekar N, Sarkar C, Bustos S, Ritzel RM, Hanscom M, Ravishankar P, Loane DJ, Wu J and Lipinski MM. Inhibition of autophagy in microglia and macrophages exacerbates innate immune responses and worsens brain injury outcomes. Autophagy. 2023; Jan 18:1-19. PMID: 36652438

  • Li Y, Lei Z, Ritzel RM, He J, Li H, Choi HMC, Lipinski MM* and Wu J*. Impairment of autophagy after spinal cord injury potentiates neuroinflammation and motor function deficit in mice. Theranostics. 2022; 12(12):5364-5388. PMID: 35910787

  • Hegdekar, N, Lipinski, MM* and Sarkar, C*. N-acetyl-L-leucine treatment attenuates neuronal cell death and suppresses neuroinflammation after traumatic brain injury in mice. Sci Reports. 2021; 11(1):9249. PMID: 33927281

  • Sarkar C, Jones JW, Hegdekar N, Thayer JA, Kumar A, Faden AI, Kane MA and Lipinski MM. PLA2G4A/cPLA2 mediated lysosomal membrane damage leads to inhibition of autophagy and neurodegeneration after brain trauma. Autophagy. 2020; 16(3):466-485. PMID: 31238788

  • Thayer JA, Awad O, Hegdekar N, Sarkar C, Tesfay H, Burt C, Feldman RA and Lipinski MM. The PARK10 gene USP24 is a negative regulator of autophagy and ULK1 protein stability. Autophagy. 2020;16(1):140-152. PMID: 30957634


NIH R33 AG076858

Cell-type and organelle-specific multi-omics platform for the study of brain aging

MPI: Lipinski / Kane / Cummings

NIH 2R01 NS094527

The Function and Mechanisms of Autophagy in Spinal Cord Injury

MPI: Wu / Lipinski

NIH R56 AG081262

Regulation of lipid droplet associated microglia (LDAM) by autophagy in the aging brain

PI: Lipinski

NIH R01 NS115876

Dysregulation of autophagy-lysosomal function links TBI to late-onset neurodegeneration

PI: Lipinski

FDA/CERSI U01 FD005946

Development of diagnostic biomarkers for determination of traumatic brain injury

MPI: Kane / Lipinski / Jones / Sarkar

Current Funding

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