Ayumi Nakamura



Originally from Chapel Hill, I moved to Charlottesville, VA and graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008. After graduation, I relocated to San Francisco where I worked as a technician for two years at UCSF, studying the molecular mechanism behind frontotemporal dementia. I returned to Chapel Hill and joined the UNC MD/PhD program in 2010.


Regulation of apoptosis is a critical part of embryonic development. Since joining the Deshmukh Lab, I have been studying the mechanism of cell death in neural precursor cells and embryonic stem cells. I am investigating a potentially novel protein-protein interaction that exists in these cell types that could determine the precarious balance between life and death of a cell.


Judy ME, Nakamura A, Huang A, McCurdy H, Weiburth KF, Grant H, Gao F, Coppola G, Kenyon C, Kao AW. A Shift to Organismal Stress Resistance in Progranulin and Other Programmed Cell Death Mutants. PLoS Genetics, 2013. 

Kao AW, Eisenhut RJ, Martens LH, Nakamura A, Huang A, Bagley JA, Zhou P, de Luis A, Neukomm LJ, Cabello J, Farese RV Jr, Kenyon C. A neurodegenerative disease mutation that accelerates the clearance of apoptotic cells. PNAS, 2012.

Richardson BC, Smith RD, Ungar D, Nakamura A, Jeffrey PD, Lupashin VV, Hughson FM. Structural basis for a human glycosylation disorder caused by mutation of the COG4 gene. PNAS, 2009.

Ridpath JR, Nakamura A, Tano K, Luke AM, Sonoda E, Arakawa H, Buerstedde JM, Gillespie DA, Sale JE, Yamazoe M, Bishop DK, Takata M, Takeda S, Watanabe M, Swenberg JA, Nakamura J. Cells deficient in the FANC/BRCA pathway are hypersensitive to plasma levels of formaldehyde. Cancer Research, 2007.


2013-2014 T32 Neurobiology Training Grant