Over the past decade, the number of new cellular structures that have been identified with critical functions for life has expanded considerably. One of the more recent discoveries is a structure called a paraspeckle, which remains poorly understood but also has multiple components that have been identified as proteins that can cause ALS when altered through mutation, and may disrupt critical RNA biology that has been strongly linked to the mechanism of disease. Using advanced protein and RNA identification techniques, Dr. Marlene Oeffinger will examine the full contents of paraspeckles to characterize them in a way that has not previously been done in the nervous system. Furthermore, her lab will observe how paraspeckles function and are altered in neuronal cells that have ALS-causing mutations. By tackling this as-yet unstudied cellular structure in ALS, Dr. Oeffinger may not only better understand how the disease occurs, but also potentially identify new and exciting treatment targets.