Source: Interfolio F180

Sandra Encalada

Associate Professor
Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Professor of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology


Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Molecular Medicine
Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences

Research Focus

Intracellular Transport and Neurodegeneration.

Our lab is interested in characterizing the interactions between molecular motors and their vesicular cargo to regulate axonal transport in neurons. We use a combination of cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, and high-resolution microscopy in mammalian neurons and in the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, to identify and characterize motor-cargo regulatory complexes. We also seek to integrate and extend our knowledge of motor regulation to dissect the role that defective vesicular transport plays in the accumulation of misfolded proteins inside axons, and scrutinize the hypothesis that this contributes to or causes neurodegeneration. We use mammalian and C. elegans systems to build models of protein aggregation diseases including prion diseases, Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), tauopathies, and transthyretin (TTR) amyloidosis-related diseases, to characterize the role of motor-based transport in toxicity and infectivity.


Ph.D. (Molecular Genetics), Institute of Molecular Biology, University of Oregon, 2003
M.S. (Population Genetics), University of Florida, 1995
B.A. (Physics), Earlham College, 1992
Diploma (International Baccalaureate (IB)), Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (USA-UWC), 1988

Professional Experience

Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Associate Professor, Dept. of Molecular Medicine, and Dorris Neuroscience Center Investigator, Scripps Research.

Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Assistant Professor, Dept. of Molecular Medicine, and Dorris Neuroscience Center Investigator, Scripps Research.

Assistant Project Scientist. Neuroplasticity of Aging Fellow. University of California, San Diego.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Dept. Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego.

Awards & Professional Activities

1986 Scholarship, The Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, Montezuma
1991 Warren Staebler Scholarship, Earlham College
1992 Elected to Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society Student Membership
1988 Full scholarship for four years undergraduate education, Earlham College
1992 Tropical Conservation and Development Program and Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation Fellowship, University of Florida
1992 Research funding for graduate work, Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research
1993 Research funding for graduate work, BEECS Genetic Analysis Core at the Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research (ICBR).
1994 Travel Award, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
1995 Elected to Phi Kappa, Phi Honor Society
1997 Pre-doctoral Research Training Grant, Genetic Mechanisms of Evolution
1998 Pre-doctoral Training Grant, NIH Biophysics and Molecular Biology
2004 Minority Supplement Postdoctoral Fellowship, NIH
2004 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
2004 Travel award, Keystone Symposia Scholarship
2006 Scholarship to attend summer course, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories Scholarship
2007 Postdoctoral Training Grant, NIH
2008 Best Theme Poster, PrP-Canada 2008 Conference
2009 Highly Qualified Personnel Oral Presentation Award, PrP-Canada 2009 Conference
2009 Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowship, Gordon Conferences
2012 New Scholar in Aging Award, The Ellison Medical Foundation
2015 Young Faculty Award, The Baxter Foundation
2015 Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, The Glenn Foundation
2020 Elected Visiting Scientist Program, Advanced Imaging Center (AIC) at HHMI Janelia Research
2020 Elected to Full Membership Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society
2020 Elected Co-Chair, American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

Selected Publications

Verhelle, Adriaan; Novak, Sammy W.; Manor, Uri; Leitao, Andre D.; Encalada, Sandra E.; Chassefeyre, Romain; Chaiamarit, Tai; Andrade, Leonardo R. Endosomal sorting drives the formation of axonal prion protein endoggresomes.. Science Advances 2021, 7, eabg3693.

Nieto-Torres, Jose L.; Encalada, Sandra E.; Hansen, Malene

LC3B phosphorylation: autophagosome’s ticket for a ride toward the cell nucleus

. Autophagy 2021, 17, 3266-3268.

Race, Brent; Williams, Katie; Baune, Chase; Striebel, James F.; Winkler, Clayton W.; Carroll, J A.; Encalada, Sandra E.; Chesebro, Bruce Deletion of Kif5c Does Not Alter Prion Disease Tempo or Spread in Mouse Brain. Viruses 2021, 13.

Nieto-Torres, Jose L.; Shanahan, Sean- L.; Chassefeyre, Romain; Chaiamarit, Tai; Zaretski, Sviatlana; Landeras-Bueno, Sara; Verhelle, Adriaan; Encalada, Sandra E.; Hansen, Malene LC3B phosphorylation regulates FYCO1 binding and directional transport of autophagosomes. Curr Biology 2021, 31, 3440-3449.e7.

Alves-Ferreira, Miguel; Ashrafi, Kaveh; Burlingame, Alma L.; Butler, Victoria J.; Dennissen, Frank J.; Encalada, Sandra E.; Groisman, Alex; Gutierrez, Edgar; Jing, Beibei; Kao, Aimee W.; Li, Kathy; Li, Biao; Mandelkow, Eckhard; Mooney, Sean D.; Oses-Prieto, Juan A.; Salazar, Dominique A.; Soriano-Castell, David; Vohra, Mihir; Wang, Austin H.

Tau/MAPT disease-associated variant A152T alters tau function and toxicity via impaired retrograde axonal transport

. Human Molecular Genetics 2019, 28, 1498-1514.

Madhivanan, K.; Greiner, E. R.; Alves-Ferreira, M.; Soriano-Castell, D.; Rouzbeh, N.; Aguirre, Carlos A.; Paulsson, J. F.; Chapman, J.; Jiang, X.; Ooi, F. K.; Lemos, C.; Dillin, A.; Prahlad, V.; Kelly, Jeffery W.; Encalada, Sandra Cellular clearance of circulating transthyretin decreases cell-nonautonomous proteotoxicity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018, 115, E7710-E7719.