Clarissa Waites, PhD

Clarissa Waites, PhD

Research Interest

The overall goal of our research is to understand nervous system function and dysfunction at the cellular and molecular level, focusing on pathways that regulate protein trafficking, degradation, and secretion. Within this broad framework, Waites lab members are currently working on several related but distinct projects, including 1) investigating roles of the ESCRT (endosomal sorting complex required for transport) pathway in neuronal protein degradation and neurodegenerative disease etiology, 2) elucidating the cellular/molecular mechanisms by which chronic stress and glucocorticoids induce brain pathology, and 3) illuminating the mechanisms of extracellular vesicle biogenesis and secretion.

Optimizing the Mentor-Mentee Relationship: Strategies for the Mentor, CUIMC Office of Faculty Professional Development

Re-envisioning Postdoctoral Training in Neuroscience, National Academy of Sciences

Culturally Aware Mentoring, Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experience (CIMER)

Selected Publications

Yu Q, Du F, Belli I, Gomes, PA, Sotiropoulos I, Waites CL. Glucocorticoid stress hormones stimulate vesicle-free Tau secretion and spreading in the brain (2023). bioRxiv. Jun 7:2023.06.07.544054. doi: 10.1101/2023.06.07.544054. Preprint.PMID: 37333306. Under review at Cell Death & Disease.  

Du F, Yu Q, Swerdlow RH, Waites CL. Glucocorticoid-driven mitochondrial damage stimulates Tau pathology (2023). Brain. Apr 18:awad127. doi: 10.1093/brain/awad127. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37070763.

Gomes P, Tzouanou F, Skolariki K, Vamvaka-Iakovou A, Noguera-Ortiz C, Tsirtsaki K, Waites CL, Vlamos P, Sousa N, Costa-Silva B, Kapogiannis D, Sotiropoulos I. Extracellular vesicles and Alzheimer’s disease in the novel era of Precision Medicine: implications for disease progression, diagnosis, and treatment (2022). Exp Neurol. 358:114183. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2022.114183. Epub 2022 Aug 8.PMID: 35952764.

Gomes PA, Bodo C, Nogueras-Ortiz C,  Samiotaki M, Chen M, Soares-Cunha C, Silva JM, Coimbra B, Stamatakis  G, Santos L, Panayotou G, Tzouanou F, Waites CL, Gatsogiannis C, Sousa N, Kapogiannis D, Costa-Silva B, Sotiropoulos I (2023). A novel isolation method for spontaneously released extracellular vesicles from brain tissue and its implications for stress-driven brain pathology. Cell Commun Signal. 21(1):35. doi: 10.1186/s12964-023-01045-z.PMID: 36782237. 

Birdsall V, Kirwan K,  Zhu M, Imoto Y, Wilson SM, Watanabe S, Waites CL (2022). Axonal transport of Hrs is activity dependent and facilitates synaptic vesicle protein degradation. Life Sci. Alliance, 5(10):e202000745. doi: 10.26508/lsa.202000745. Print 2022 Oct. PMID: 35636965.

Waites C.L., Xu Q, and Bartolini F (2021). The Synaptic Life of Microtubules. Invited review, Curr Opin Neurobiol. April 16;69:113-123. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2021.03.004.

Zhuravleva V, Vaz-Silva J, Zhu M, Gomes P, Silva JM, Sousa N, Sotiropoulos I, Waites CL (2021). Rab35 and glucocorticoids regulate APP and BACE1 trafficking to modulate Ab production. Cell Death Dis. 12(12):1137. doi: 10.1038/s41419-021-04433-w. PMID: 34876559.

Monteiro-Fernandes D, Silva JM, Carina Soares-Cunha C, Dalla C, Nikolaos Kokras N, François A, Billiras R, Zhuravleva V, Waites C, Bretin S, Sousa N, Sotiropoulos I (2021). Allosteric modulation of AMPA receptors counteracts Tau-related excitotoxic synaptic signaling and memory deficits in Stress and Aβ-evoked hippocampal pathology. Molecular Psychiatry. 26(10):5899-5911. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-0794-5. Epub 2020 May 28.PMID: 32467647.

Qu X, Kumar A, Blockus H, Waites C, Bartolini F (2019). Activity-dependent nucleation of dynamic microtubules at presynaptic boutons controls neurotransmission. Curr Biol. Dec 16;29(24):4231-4240.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.049.

Birdsall V., Martinez J.C., Randolph L., Hengst U., Waites C.L. (2019). Live imaging of ESCRT proteins in microfluidically isolated hippocampal axons. In: Methods Mol Bio. 1998:117-128. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-9492-2_9.

Birdsall V., Waites C.L. (2018). Autophagy at the synapse. Neurosci Lett. 697, 24-28. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.05.033.

Zhu M, Cortese G, Waites CL (2018). Parkinson’s disease-linked Parkin mutations impair glutamatergic signaling in hippocampal neurons. BMC Biology. 16(1):100. doi:10.1186/s12915-018-0567-7.

Vaz-Silva J, Gomes P, Jin Q, Zhu M, Zhuravleva V, Quintremil S, Meira T, Silva J, Dioli C, Soares-Cunha C, Daskalakis NP, Sousa N, Sotiropoulos I, Waites CL (2018). Endolysosomal degradation of Tau and its role in hippocampal malfunction. EMBO J., 37(20). pii: e99084.doi:10.15252/embj.201899084.

Dunn M, Boltaev U, Beskow A, Pampou S, Realubit R, Meira T, Vaz Silva J, Karan C, Jockusch S, Sulzer D, Chang YT, Sames D, Waites CL (2018). Identification of fluorescent small molecule compounds for synaptic labeling by image-based, high-content screening. ACS Chem Neurosci. Dec 18. doi:10.1021/acschemneuro.7b00263.

Sheehan PJ and Waites CL. Coordination of synaptic vesicle trafficking and turnover by the Rab35 signaling network (2017). Small GTPases. Jan;10(1):54-63. doi:10.1080/21541248.2016.1270392.

Okerlund ND, Schneider K, Leal-Ortiz S, Montenegro-Venegas C, Kim SA, Garner LC, Waites CL, Gundelfinger ED, Reimer RJ, Garner CC (2017). Bassoon Controls Presynaptic Autophagy through Atg5. Neuron. 93(4):897-913.e7. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2017.01.026.

For a complete list of publications, please visit