Location: Barshop Institute 2011



Elizabeth Fernandez, PhD

Assistant Professor/Research

Personal Statement:

Aging is the main risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a disorder of the brain that leads to shaking (tremors) and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination. My studies are focused to test the role of impaired detoxification of biogenic aldehydes and reactive oxygen species in the Gpx1/Aldh1a1 double KO model of Parkinson’s disease and whether the use of aldehyde trapping agents and N-acetylcysteine, separately and/or together will revert the effects, and could provide a new therapeutic approach to intervention in Parkinson’s disease.

The objectives in these studies are to examine the role of two genes, aldehyde dehydrogenase 1a1 (Aldh1a1) and the glutamate peroxidase 1 (Gpx1), each of whose expression is notably reduced in the nigrostriatal pathway in Parkinson’s disease, and the effects of the aldehyde trapping agent-hydralazine- and or the glutathione precursor N-acetylcysteine in preventing or attenuating the progression of Parkinson’s disease.


1984BSNutrition and DieteticsUniversidad Central de Venezuela
Caracas , Venezuela
1988MSBiology/BiochemistryInstituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas
1996PhDCellular & Molecular Pharmacology and PhysiologyUniversity of Nevada
Reno , NV
Postdoctoral FellowshipPharmacologyThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
San Antonio , TX


1.Harrison, D. E., Strong, R., Reifsnyder, P., Kumar, N., Fernandez, E., Flurkey, K., Javors, M. A., Lopez-Cruzan, M., Macchiarini, F., Nelson, J. F., Bitto, A., Sindler, A. L., Cortopassi, G., Kavanagh, K., Leng, L., Bucala, R., Rosenthal, N., Salmon, A., Stearns, T. M., ... Miller, R. A. (2021). 17-a-estradiol late in life extends lifespan in aging UM-HET3 male mice; nicotinamide riboside and three other drugs do not affect lifespan in either sex. Aging cell, 20(5), [e13328].
2.Salmon, A. B., Nelson, J. F., Gelfond, J. A. L., Javors, M., Ginsburg, B., Lopez-Cruzan, M., Galvan, V., Fernandez, E., Musi, N., Ikeno, Y., Hubbard, G., Lechleiter, J., Hornsby, P. J., & Strong, R. (2021). San Antonio Nathan Shock Center: your one-stop shop for aging research. GeroScience, 43(5), 2105-2118.
3.Miller, R. A., Harrison, D. E., Allison, D. B., Bogue, M., Debarba, L., Diaz, V., Fernandez, E., Galecki, A., Timothy Garvey, W., Jayarathne, H., Kumar, N., Javors, M. A., Ladiges, W. C., Macchiarini, F., Nelson, J., Reifsnyder, P., Rosenthal, N. A., Sadagurski, M., Salmon, A. B., ... Strong, R. (2020). Canagliflozin extends life span in genetically heterogeneous male but not female mice. JCI Insight, 5(21), [e140019].
4.Strong, R., Miller, R. A., Bogue, M., Fernandez, E., Javors, M. A., Libert, S., Marinez, P. A., Murphy, M. P., Musi, N., Nelson, J. F., Petrascheck, M., Reifsnyder, P., Richardson, A., Salmon, A. B., Macchiarini, F., & Harrison, D. E. (2020). Rapamycin-mediated mouse lifespan extension: Late-life dosage regimes with sex-specific effects. Aging cell, 19(11), [e13269].
5.Harrison, D. E., Strong, R., Alavez, S., Astle, C. M., DiGiovanni, J., Fernandez, E., Flurkey, K., Garratt, M., Gelfond, J. A. L., Javors, M. A., Levi, M., Lithgow, G. J., Macchiarini, F., Nelson, J. F., Sukoff Rizzo, S. J., Slaga, T. J., Stearns, T., Wilkinson, J. E., & Miller, R. A. (2019). Acarbose improves health and lifespan in aging HET3 mice. Aging cell, 18(2), [e12898].
6.Soto-Piña, A. E., Franklin, C., Rani, C. S. S., Fernandez, E., Cardoso-Peña, E., Benítez-Arciniega, A. D., Gottlieb, H., Hinojosa-Laborde, C., & Strong, R. (2019). Dexamethasone Causes Hypertension in Rats Even Under Chemical Blockade of Peripheral Sympathetic Nerves. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 13, [1305].
7.Miller, R. A., Harrison, D. E., Astle, C. M., Bogue, M. A., Brind, J., Fernandez, E., Flurkey, K., Javors, M., Ladiges, W., Leeuwenburgh, C., Macchiarini, F., Nelson, J., Ryazanov, A. G., Snyder, J., Stearns, T. M., Vaughan, D. E., & Strong, R. (2019). Glycine supplementation extends lifespan of male and female mice. Aging cell, 18(3), [e12953].
8.Weiss, R., Fernandez, E., Liu, Y., Strong, R., & Salmon, A. B. (2018). Metformin reduces glucose intolerance caused by rapamycin treatment in genetically heterogeneous female mice. Aging, 10(3), 386-401.
9.Strong, R., Miller, R. A., Antebi, A., Astle, C. M., Bogue, M., Denzel, M. S., Fernandez, E., Flurkey, K., Hamilton, K. L., Lamming, D. W., Javors, M. A., de Magalhães, J. P., Martinez, P. A., McCord, J. M., Miller, B. F., Müller, M., Nelson, J. F., Ndukum, J., Rainger, G. E., ... Harrison, D. E. (2016). Longer lifespan in male mice treated with a weakly estrogenic agonist, an antioxidant, an α-glucosidase inhibitor or a Nrf2-inducer. Aging cell, 15(5), 872-884.
10.Ross, C., Salmon, A., Strong, R., Fernandez, E., Javors, M., Richardson, A., & Tardif, S. (2015). Metabolic consequences of long-term rapamycin exposure on common marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus). Aging, 7(11), 964-973.
11.Tardif, S., Ross, C., Bergman, P., Fernandez, E., Javors, M., Salmon, A., Spross, J., Strong, R., & Richardson, A. (2015). Testing Efficacy of Administration of the Antiaging Drug Rapamycin in a Nonhuman Primate, the Common Marmoset. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 70(5), 577-588.
12.Harrison, D. E., Strong, R., Allison, D. B., Ames, B. N., Astle, C. M., Atamna, H., Fernandez, E., Flurkey, K., Javors, M. A., Nadon, N. L., Nelson, J. F., Pletcher, S., Simpkins, J. W., Smith, D., Wilkinson, J. E., & Miller, R. A. (2014). Acarbose, 17-α-estradiol, and nordihydroguaiaretic acid extend mouse lifespan preferentially in males. Aging cell, 13(2), 273-282.
13.Liu, Y., Diaz, V., Fernandez, E., Strong, R., Ye, L., Baur, J. A., Lamming, D. W., Richardson, A., & Salmon, A. B. (2014). Rapamycin-induced metabolic defects are reversible in both lean and obese mice. Aging, 6(9), 742-754.
14.Miller, R. A., Harrison, D. E., Astle, C. M., Fernandez, E., Flurkey, K., Han, M., Javors, M. A., Li, X., Nadon, N. L., Nelson, J. F., Pletcher, S., Salmon, A. B., Sharp, Z. D., Van Roekel, S., Winkleman, L., & Strong, R. (2014). Rapamycin-mediated lifespan increase in mice is dose and sex dependent and metabolically distinct from dietary restriction. Aging cell, 13(3), 468-477.
15.Strong, R., Miller, R. A., Astle, C. M., Baur, J. A., De Cabo, R., Fernandez, E., Guo, W., Javors, M., Kirkland, J. L., Nelson, J. F., Sinclair, D. A., Teter, B., Williams, D., Zaveri, N., Nadon, N. L., & Harrison, D. E. (2013). Evaluation of resveratrol, green tea extract, curcumin, oxaloacetic acid, and medium-chain triglyceride oil on life span of genetically heterogeneous mice. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 68(1), 6-16.
16.Wey, M. C. Y., Fernandez, E., Martinez, P. A., Sullivan, P., Goldstein, D. S., & Strong, R. (2012). Neurodegeneration and motor dysfunction in mice lacking cytosolic and mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenases: Implications for parkinson's disease. PloS one, 7(2), [e31522].
17.Frahm, K. A., Lumia, A. R., Fernandez, E., Strong, R., Roberts, J. L., & McGinnis, M. Y. (2011). Effects of anabolic androgenic steroids and social subjugation on behavior and neurochemistry in male rats. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 97(3), 416-422.
18.Miller, R. A., Harrison, D. E., Astle, C. M., Baur, J. A., Boyd, A. R., De Cabo, R., Fernandez, E., Flurkey, K., Javors, M. A., Nelson, J. F., Orihuela, C. J., Pletcher, S., Sharp, Z. D., Sinclair, D., Starnes, J. W., Wilkinson, J. E., Nadon, N. L., & Strong, R. (2011). Rapamycin, but not resveratrol or simvastatin, extends life span of genetically heterogeneous mice. Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 66 A(2), 191-201.
19.Harrison, D. E., Strong, R., Sharp, Z. D., Nelson, J. F., Astle, C. M., Flurkey, K., Nadon, N. L., Wilkinson, J. E., Frenkel, K., Carter, C. S., Pahor, M., Javors, M. A., Fernandez, E., & Miller, R. A. (2009). Rapamycin fed late in life extends lifespan in genetically heterogeneous mice. Nature, 460(7253), 392-395.
20.Price, D. A., Martinez, A. A., Seillier, A., Koek, W., Acosta, Y., Fernandez, E., Strong, R., Lutz, B., Marsicano, G., Roberts, J. L., & Giuffrida, A. (2009). WIN55,212-2, a cannabinoid receptor agonist, protects against nigrostriatal cell loss in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine mouse model of Parkinson's disease. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29(11), 2177-2186.
21.Fernandez, E., Koek, W., Ran, Q., Gerhardt, G. A., France, C. P., & Strong, R. (2006). Monoamine metabolism and behavioral responses to ethanol in mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase knockout mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 30(10), 1650-1658.
22.Corbitt, J., Hagerty, T., Fernandez, E., Morgan, W. W., & Strong, R. (2002). Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of Tyrosine Hydroxylase messenger RNA in PC12 cells during persistent stimulation by VIP and PACAP38: Differential regulation by protein kinase A and protein kinase C-dependent pathways. Neuropeptides, 36(1), 34-45.
23.Hagerty, T., Fernandez, E., Lynch, K., Wang, S. S., Morgan, W. W., & Strong, R. (2001). Interaction of a glucocorticoid-responsive element with regulatory sequences in the promoter region of the mouse tyrosine hydroxylase gene. Journal of neurochemistry, 78(6), 1379-1388.