Primary Research Focus
Research in the Pearce Lab focuses on understanding the molecular basis of several inherited pediatric neurodegenerative diseases, including the infantile, late infantile and juvenile onset forms of Batten disease.
Dr. Pearce and his team use mouse and miniature pig models of these rare, fatal diseases to reveal molecular and cellular pathomechanisms, to identify new therapeutic targets and to test new therapeutic approaches.
About the Pearce Lab
Lab Projects and News
Mouse models of Batten disease
Mutations in the CLN1, CLN2 and CLN3 genes cause infantile, late infantile and juvenile Batten diseases, respectively. We use mouse models of these diseases that carry common disease-causing human mutations (Cln3ex7/8, Cln3Q352X, Cln1R151X, Cln2R207X), to test new therapeutic approaches (e.g., nonsense suppression therapy and drugs affecting glutamate neurotransmission).
Pig models of Batten disease
Since the mouse models of Batten disease have limitations, we generated Yucatan miniature pig models of juvenile (CLN3) and late infantile (CLN2) Batten diseases. The physiology of the pig is similar to humans, and therefore, the pig models human diseases more precisely than mice. Characterization of the CLN3 and CLN2 mutant pigs is in progress.
Meet the Pearce Lab Team
Attila Kovács, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist
Dr. Attila Kovács conceives, designs and conducts experiments. He then analyzes and interprets the data before presenting the findings. He also writes scientific papers and grant applications, and supervises projects.
Along with testing pharmacotherapeutic approaches in mouse models of Batten disease, Dr. Kovács investigates the role of the bacterial flora living in the gut in the pathophysiology of the disease using mouse models.
MS: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary (1987); PhD (1998)
Vicki Swier, PhD
Dr. Vicki Swier conceives, designs and conduct experiments. She then analyzes and interprets the data before presenting the findings. She also writes scientific papers and grant applications.
Before joining the Pearce Lab, Dr. Swier worked in various roles at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dr. Swier earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, and a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
Logan Langin, BA
Senior Research Specialist
Logan Langin started in the Pearce lab as an associate research specialist after graduating from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2012. Now as a senior research specialist, he oversees and manages all laboratory activities, orders, mouse colony maintenance and laboratory projects.
Langin also designs and conducts experiments, analyzes and interprets data, and submits and maintains all necessary documentation for laboratory compliance with organizational, state and federal regulations.