Elizabeth Fernandez, Ph. D.

Assistant Professor/Research

Ph.D., Cellular & Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology

University of Nevada

Reno, Nevada

Office: 210-562-6050

Email: fernandeze@uthscsa.edu


Research Interests

• aging • elderly
• Alzheimer’s                     • Parkinson’s
• rapamycin • simvastatin
• resveratrol • Aldh1
• Gpx1

Research Activities

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.


Appointments, Boards, Committees and Memberships 

  • Subcommittee for Research Safety – Chairperson South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Research and Development (2010-2011)
  • Subcommittee for Research Safety – Co-Chairperson South Texas Veterans Health Care System (2009-2010)

Grants, Funding and Research Support 


  • VA 1 I01 BX001641-01A1 – 10/01/2012-09/30/2017 (Active)

Merit Review Medical Research Program – Detoxification of Biogenic Aldehydes in Parkinson’s disease – Department of Veterans Affairs 

(Fernandez, Co-I / Strong, PI)

The goals of these studies is to test the hypothesis that elevated levels of biogenic aldehydes are involved in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease. We are using aldehyde trapping agents to test the hypothesis that biogenic aldehydes may be therapeutic targets in this disease

  • NIA 1U01-AG022307 – 04/15/2004-06/30/2014 (Active)

Center for Testing Potential Anti-Aging Interventions (NIA-Aging Interventions Testing Center)

(Fernandez, Co-I / Strong, PI – Program Director)

This is one of three national centers funded by the National Institute on Aging whose purpose is to test interventions for which therapeutic targets have been identified that have been shown to modulate the aging process

  • VISN17 – 10/01/2008-09/30/2012 (Completed)

Research Program – The role of Aldh1a1 and Gpx1 Deficiency in Parkinson’s disease – Department of Veterans Affairs


We investigated possible contributions of ALDH and GPX to the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease


Selected Publications