Dr. Hastings is the Principal Investigator on three NIH grants and a co-Investigator on three additional grants. She continues to examine the role of dopamine oxidation, protein modification, and mitochondrial dysfunction in the selective vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons with the goal of identifying therapeutic agents to prevent neurodegeneration. Using proteomic techniques, 2-D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, Dr. Hastings is identifying mitochondrial proteins oxidatively modified following exposure to dopamine quinones. This is an important step in linking alterations in critical protein structure and function to the death of the neuron. Because of Dr. Hastings’ expertise, she has been a member of NIH and Michael J. Fox Foundation study sections. She also serves as a Handling Editor for the Journal of Neurochemistry and an editorial board member for Experimental Neurology.
In addition to her research, Dr. Hastings is very active in the Center for Neuroscience (CNUP) Graduate Program. She is currently the dissertation advisor for 3 graduate students, and has served on 15 graduate student committees during the past year. She is the Director of CNUP graduate courses, Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (Block 1), and Biological Bases of Neuropsychiatric Disorders (BBND). Dr. Hastings serves as Chair of the CNUP Education and Curriculum Committee. She is also a member of the MD/PhD Recruitment Committee for the CNUP, as well as the Steering Committee for the NIMH Institutional Predoctoral Training Grant. In addition, she is a member of the Department of Neurology Promotions Committee, the Executive Committee for the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (PIND) and the PIND Seed Money Grant Selection Committee.
During this year, Dr. Hastings served as a Moderator for Science 2005 at the University of Pittsburgh, Spotlight Session VIII, “Aging and Anti-aging”, and a member of an Ad Hoc Tenure and Promotions Review Committee for the College of Arts and Sciences. She was also asked to serve as the Co-Chair of the Clinical/Translational Interface Committee for the CNBC Training Grant. Dr. Hastings participated in The Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research Science Literacy Workshop held at the School of Medicine, discussing the value of animal-based biomedical research to local science teachers through describing her own work and providing tours of her laboratory.
Dr. Hastings recently moved her research operations to the new PIND laboratory space located on the 7th floor of the new BST3 building. With the recent recruitment of several outstanding scientists in the field of neurodegeneration, Dr. Hastings is establishing additional collaborative research projects and applying for NIH funding through Program Project or Center grant initiatives.
Dr. Hasting's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.