Guy Caldwell

Guy A. Caldwell


University Distinguished Research Professor


  • Postdoctoral Research, Columbia University
  • PhD, Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee, 1993

Research Interests

The Caldwell Laboratory, shared by co-investigators, Drs. Guy and Kim Caldwell, is focused on studying malfunction in basic cellular mechanisms associated with diseases of the nervous system. Our laboratory utilizes the microscopic nematode roundworm, C. elegans, as a model system for discovering gene function, as well as therapeutic target development for these disorders. C. elegans affords many advantages in such research as it is amenable to genetic, genomic, proteomic, and drug screening strategies and is an animal with a completely defined cell lineage, completed genome sequence, and lifespan of approximately 2-3 weeks. As opposed to the human brain, where it is estimated we have over 100 billion nerve cells, this anatomically transparent and microscopic worm contains precisely 302 neurons for which a defined neuronal connectivity map has been determined. In this regard, C. elegans is ideal for investigation of diseases associated with neuronal dysfunction and ageing. The utility of this organism for both basic and biomedical research has been well established and recognized by the fact that this animal was a subject of the 2002, 2006, and 2008 Nobel Prizes.

The Caldwell Lab has pioneered the application of C. elegans for the study of several disorders including dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy. Other diseases under investigation in our lab include Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and cystic fibrosis. Our research efforts aimed at gene and drug discovery to advance therapeutic development for these disorders also include application of mammalian cell culture models for target validation, as well as molecular biology and biochemical strategies for mechanistic analysis.

Support for research in the Caldwell lab comes from numerous of medical foundations, the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the biotechnology industry.

Selected Publications

  • Hartman JH, Gonzalez-Hunt C, Hall SM, Ryde IT, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Meyer JN (2019) Genetic Defects in Mitochondrial Dynamics in Caenorhabditis elegans Impact Ultraviolet C Radiation- and 6-hydroxydopamine-Induced Neurodegeneration. Int J Mol Sci. 20, pii: E3202. doi: 10.3390/ijms20133202
  • Gaeta AL, Caldwell KA, Caldwell, GA (2019) Found in Translation: The Utility of C. elegans Alpha-Synuclein Models of Parkinson’s disease.  Brain Sciences, 9, 73; doi:10.3390/brainsci9040073.
  • Griffin EF, Scopel SE, Stephen CA, Holzhauer AC, Vaji MA, Tuckey, RA, Berkowitz LA, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA (2019) ApoE-associated modulation of neuroprotection from Aβ-mediated neurodegeneration in transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans.  Disease Models and Mechanisms, 12, dmm037218. doi:10.1242/dmm.037218.
  • Griffin EF, Caldwell, KA, Caldwell GA (2019) Vps41 at the intersection of endosomal traffic in neurodegenerative diseaseNeural Regeneration Research, 14 (7):1210-1212. doi: 10.4103/1673-5374.251329.
  • Daniels MJ, J Brucker Nourse Jr, Kim H, Schiavina M, Sainati V, Murrali MG, Pan B, Ferrie JJ, Haney CM, Moons R, Gould NS, Natalello A, Grandori R, Sobott F, Petersson EJ, Rhoades E, Pierattelli R, Felli I, Uversky VN, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Krol E, Ischiropoulos H. (2019) Cyclized NDGA modifies dynamic alpha-synuclein monomers preventing aggregation and toxicityScientific Reports, 9:2937 |
  • Caldwell KA, Thies JL, Caldwell GA (2018) No Country for Old Worms: A systematic review of the application of C. elegans to investigate a bacterial source of environmental neurotoxicity in Parkinson’s diseaseMetabolites 8:E70. [http://doi: 10.3390/metabo8040070]doi: 10.3390/metabo8040070.
  • Griffin EF, Yan X, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA (2018) Distinct functional roles of Vps41-mediated neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease models of neurodegeneration. Human Molecular Genetics
  • Kim H, Perentis RJ, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA (2018) Gene-by-environment interactions that disrupt mitochondrial homeostasis cause neurodegeneration in C. elegans Parkinson’s modelsCell Death Disease. doi/org/10.1038/s41419-018-0619-5 
  • Patel D, Xu C, Nagaragjan S, Liu Z, Hemphill WO, Shi R, Uversky VN, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA, Witt SN. (2018) Alpha-synuclein inhibits Snx-3-retromer-mediated retrograde recycling of iron transporters in S. cerevisiae and C. elegans models of Parkinson’s disease.  Human Molecular Genetics. 27:1514–1532.
  • Kim H, Calatayud C, Guha S, Fernández-Carasa I, Berkowitz L, Carballo-Carbajal I, Ezquerra M, Fernández-Santiago, Kapahi P, Raya A, Miranda-Vizuete A, Lizcano JM, Vila M, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Consiglio A, Dalfo E. (2018) The small GTPas RAC1/CED-10 is essential in maintaining dopaminergic neuron function and survival against α-synuclein-induce toxicityMolecular Neurobiology
  • Martinez BA, Petersen DA, Gaeta AL, Stanley SP, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA. (2017) Dysregulation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response induces non-apoptotic dopaminergic neurodegeneration in C. elegans models of Parkinson’s disease. J Neurosci. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI
  • Griffin EF, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA. (2017) Genetic and pharmacological discovery for Alzheimer’s Disease using C. elegans. ACS Chem Neurosci. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.7b00361
  • Tardiff DF, Brown LE, Yan X, Trilles R, Jui NT, Barrasa MI, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Schaus SE, Lindquist S. (2017) Dihydropyrimidine-Thiones and Clioquinol Synergize To Target β-Amyloid Cellular Pathologies through a Metal-Dependent Mechanism. ACS Chem. Neuroscidoi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.7b00187
  • Mor DE, Tsika E, Mazzulli JR, Gould NS, Kim H, Daniels MJ, Doshi S, Gupta P, Grossman JL, Tan VX, Kalb RG, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Wolfe JH, Ischiopoulos H. (2017) Dopamine induces soluble α-synuclein oligomers and nigrostriatal degeneration. Nature Neuroscience. doi:10.1038/nn.4641
  • Zhang S, Glukhova SA, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA. (2017) NCEH-1 modulates cholesterol metabolism and protects against α-synuclein toxicity in a C. elegans model of Parkinson’s disease. Human Molecular Genetics. 26:3823–3836.
  • Martinez BA, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA. (2017) C. elegans as a model system to accelerate discovery for Parkinson disease. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development. 44:102-109
  • Wang S, Zhang S, Xu C, Barron A, Galiano F, Patel D, Lee YJ, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA, Witt SN. (2016) Chemical Compensation of Mitochondrial Phospholipid Depletion in Yeast and Animal Models of Parkinson’s Disease. PLoS One. 11(10):e0164465
  • Watkins AL, Ray A, R Roberts L, Caldwell KA, Olson JB. (2016) The prevalence and distribution of neurodegenerative compound-producing soil Streptomyces spp. Scientific Reports. 6:srep22566
  • Martinez BA, Kim H, Ray A, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA. (2015) A bacterial metabolite induces glutathione-tractable proteostatic damage, proteasomal disturbances, and PINK1-dependent autophagy in C. elegans . Cell Death Disease. 6:e1908
  • Ray A, Zhang, S, Rentas, C Caldwell, KA, and Caldwell, GA. 2015. RTCB-1 mediates neuroprotection via XBP-1 mRNA Splicing in the UPR pathway.  J. Neurosci.,  34:16076 –16085.
  • Ray, A, Rentas, C, Caldwell, GA, and Caldwell, KA. 2015. Phenazines cause proteotoxicity and stress in C. elegansNeurosci Lett., 584:23-27.
  •  Johnson, WM, Yao, C, Siedlak, S, Wang, W, Zhu, X, Caldwell, GA, Wilson-Delfosse, AL, Mieyal, JJ, and Chen, S. 2014. Glutaredoxin deficiency exacerbates neurodegeneration in C. elegans models of Parkinson’s disease.  Hum. Mol. Genet., [Epub ahead of print].
  • Wang S, Zhang, S, Liou, L-C, Ren, Q, Zhang, Z, Caldwell, GA, Caldwell, KA, and Witt, SN. 2014. Phosphatidylethanolamine deficiency enhances α-synuclein toxicity in yeast and worm models of Parkinson’s disease. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 111:E3976–E3985.
  • Caraveo, G, Auluck, PK, Whitesell, L, Chung, C-Y, Baru, V, Mosharov, E, Yan, X, Ben Johny, M, Soste, M, Picotti, P, Kim, H, Caldwell, KA, Caldwell, GA, Sulzer, DA, Yue, DT, Lindquist, S. 2014. Calcineurin determines toxic versus beneficial responses to α-synuclein.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 111:E3544-52.
  • Knight, AL, Yan, X, Hamamichi, S, Ajjuri, RR, Mazzulli, JR, Zhang, MW, Daigle, JG, Zhang, S, Borom, AR, Roberts, LR, Lee, SK, DeLeon, SM, Viollet-Djelassi, C., Krainc, D., O’Donnell, J.M., Caldwell, K.A., and Caldwell, GA. 2014. The glycolytic enzyme, GPI, is a functionally conserved modifier of dopaminergic neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s models.  Cell Metabolism 20:145-157.
  • Matlack, KE, Tardiff, DF, Narayan, P, Hamamichi, S, Caldwell, KA, Caldwell, GA, and Lindquist, S. 2014. Clioquinol promotes the degradation of metal-dependent amyloid-β (Aβ) oligomers to restore endocytosis and ameliorate Aβ toxicity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111:4013-4018.
  • Bornhorst, J, Chakraborty, S, Meyer, S, Lohren, H, Große Brinkhaus, S, Knight, AL, Caldwell, KA, Caldwell, GA, Karst, U, Schwerdtle, T, Bowman, A, and Aschner M. 2014. The effects of pdr1, djr1.1 and pink1 loss in manganese-induced toxicity and the role of α-synuclein in C. elegans. Metallomics 6:476-490.
  • Thompson, ML, Chen, P, Borom, AR, Roberts, NB, Caldwell, KA, and Caldwell, GA. 2014. TorsinA rescues ER-associated stress and locomotive defects in C. elegans models of ALS.  Dis. Model. Mech., 7:233-243.
  • Munoz-Lobato F, Rodríguez-Palero MJ, Naranjo-Galindo FJ, Shephard F, Szewczyk NJ, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Link CD, Miranda-Vizuete A.  2014.  Protective role of DNJ-27, the worm orthologue of human ERdj5, in C. elegans models of neurodegenerative diseases.  Antioxidants Redox Signaling, 2014 20:217-35.
  • Ray, A, Martinez, BA, Berkowitz, LA, Caldwell, GA, Caldwell, KA.  2014. Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and neurodegeneration elicited by a bacterial metabolite in a C. elegans Parkinson’s model.  Cell Death Disease, 5:e984.
  •  Jackrel, ME, DeSantis, ME, Martinez, BA, Castellano, LM, Stewart, RM, Caldwell, KA, Caldwell, GA, Shorter, J.  2014. Potentiated Hsp104 variants antagonize diverse proteotoxic misfolding events.  Cell  156:170-182.
  • Tardiff, DF, Jui, NT, Khurana, V, Tambe, MA, Thompson, ML, Chung, CY, Kamadurai HB, Kim HT, Lancaster, AK, Caldwell, KA, Caldwell, GA, Rochet J-C, Buchwald, SL, Lindquist, S.  2013.   Yeast Reveal a “Druggable” Rsp5/Nedd4 Network that Ameliorates a-Synuclein Toxicity in Neurons.  Science   342:979-83.
  • Dehay B, Martinez-Vicente M, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA, Yue Z, Cookson MR, Klein C, Vila M, Bezard E (2013) Lysosomal impairment in Parkinson’s disease.  Movement Disorders.  28:725-732.
  • Kautu, BB, Carrasquilla A, Hicks ML, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA.  2013. Valproic acid ameliorates C. elegans dopaminergic neurodegeneration via ERK-MAPK.  Neuroscience Letters  541:116-119.
  •  Usenovic M, Knight AL, Ray A, Wong V, Brown KR, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA, Stagljar I, Krainc D.  2012.  Identification of novel ATP13A2 interactors and their role in α-synuclein misfolding and toxicity.  Human Molecular Genetics   21:3785-3794.
  • Dexter PM, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA.  2012.  A predictable worm:  Application of C. elegans for mechanistic investigation of movement disorders.  Neurotherapeutics  9:393-404.
  • Tardiff DA, Tucci ML, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Lindquist S.  2012.  Different 8-hydroxyquinolines protect models of TDP-43, alpha-synuclein, and polyglutamine proteotoxicity through distinct mechanisms.  Journal of Biological Chemistry  287:4107-4120.
  • Harrington AJ, Yacoubian TA, Slone SR, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA.  2012.  Functional analysis of VPS41-mediated neuroprotection in Caenorhabditis elegans and mammalian models of Parkinson’s disease.  The Journal of Neuroscience   32:2142-2153.
  • Treusch S, Hamamichi S, Goodman JL, Matlack K, Chung CY, Baru V, Shulman JM, Parrado A, Bevis BJ, Valastyan JS, Han H, Lindhagen-Persson M, Reiman EM, Evans DA, Bennett DA, Olofsson A, DeJager PL, Tanzi RE, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Lindquist S.  2011.  Functional links between Ab toxicity, endocytic trafficking, and Alzheimer’s disease risk factors in yeast.  Science  334:1241-1245.
  • Liu Z, Hamamichi S, Lee BD, Yang D, Ray A, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA, Dawson TM, Smith WW, Dawson VL.  2011.  Inhibitors of LRRK2 kinase attenuate neurodegeneration and Parkinson-like phenotypes in C. elegans and Drosophila Parkinson’s disease models. Human Molecular Genetics 20:3933-3942.
  • Mazzulli, JR, Xu Y-H, Sun Y, Knight AL, McLean PJ, Caldwell GA, Grabowski GA, Krainc D  2011.  Gaucher’s disease glucocerebrosidase and a-synuclein form a bidirection apathogenic loop in synucleinopathies.  Cell, 146:37-52.
  • Nery FC, Armata IA, Farley JE, Cho JA, Yaqub U, Chen P, da Hora CC, Wang Q, Tagaya M, Klein C, Tannous B, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Lencer WI, Ye Y, Breakefield XO.  2011.  TorsinA participates in endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD). Nature Communications  2:393. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1383.
  • Harrington AJ, Knight AL, Caldwell, GA, Caldwell KA.  2011.  C. elegans as a model system for identifying effectors of α-synuclein misfolding and dopaminergic cell death associated with Parkinson’s disease.  Methods 53:220-225.
  • Chen P, Burdette AJ, Porter CJ, Ricketts JC, Fox SA, Hewett JW, Nery FC, Berkowitz LA, Breakefield XO, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA.  2010.  The early-onset torsion dystonia  associated protein, torsionA, is a homeostatic regulator of endoplasmic reticulum stress. Human Molecular Genetics 19:3502-3515.
  • Pivtoraiko VN, Harrington AJ, Luker AM, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA, Roth KA, Shacka JJ.  2010.  Bafilomycin attenuates neuronal cell death associated with autophagy-lysosome pathway dysfunction.  Journal of Neurochemistry  114:1193-1204.
  • Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA.  2010.  Disinfecting Dystonia?  Drug discovery using worms identifies an antibiotic as a neuroprotective lead molecule for movement disorders.  Future Neurology  5:473-476.
  • Cao S, Hewett JW, Yokoi F, Lu J, Buckley AC, Burdette AJ, Chen P, Nery FC, Li Y, Breakefield XO, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA.  2010.  Chemical enhancement of torsinA function in cell and animal models of torsion dystonia.  Disease Models and Mechanisms  3:386-396.
  • Harrington AJ, Hamamichi S, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA. 2010.  C. elegans as a model organism to investigate molecular pathways involved in Parkinson’s disease.  Developmental Dynamics 239:1282-1295.
  • Su LJ, Auluck PK, Outeiro TF, Yeger-Lotem E, Kritzer JA, Tardiff, DF, Strathearn KE, Liu F, Cao S, Hamamichi S, Hill KJ, Caldwell, KA, Bell GW, Fraenkel E, Cooper AA, Caldwell GA, McCaffery JM, Rochet J-C, Lindquist S.  2010. Compounds from an unbiased chemical screen reverse both ER to-Golgi trafficking defects and mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson disease models.  Disease Models and Mechanisms 3:194-208.
  • Burdette AJ, Churchill PF, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA.   2010.  The early-onset torsion dystonia associated protein, torsinA, displays molecular chaperone activity in vitro. Cell Stress and Chaperones 15:605-617.
  • Yacoubian TA, Slone SR, Hamamichi S, Harrington AJ, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Standaert DG. 2010.  Differential neuroprotective effects of 14-3-3 proteins in models of Parkinson’s disease.  Cell Death and Disease 1, e2 doi:10.1038/cddis.2009.4
  • Ruan Q, Harrington AJ, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Standaert DG.  2010.  VPS41, a protein involved in lysosomal trafficking, is protective in Caenorhabditis elegans and mammalian cellular models of Parkinson’s disease.  Neurobiology of Disease  37:330-338.
  • Faircloth LM, Churchill PF, Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA. 2009. The microtubule-associated protein, NUD-1, exhibits chaperone activity in vitro.  Cell Stress and Chaperones  14:95-103.
  • Gitler AD, Chesi A, Geddie ML, Strathearn KE, Hamamichi S, Hill KJ, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Cooper AA, Rochet J-C, Lindquist S. 2009.  α-synuclein is part of a diverse and highly conserved interaction network that includes PARK9 and manganese toxicity.  Nature Genetics 41:308-315.
  • Kritzer JA, Hamamichi S, McCaffery JM, Caldwell KA, Naumann TA, Caldwell GA, Lindquist S. 2009. Rapid selection of cyclic peptides that reduce alpha-synuclein toxicity in yeast and animal models.  Nature Chemical Biology 5:655-663.
  • Caldwell KA, Tucci ML, Armagost J, Hodges TW, Chen J, Memon SB, Blalock JE, DeLeon SM, Findlay RH, Ruan Q, Webber PJ, Standaert DG, Olson JB, Caldwell GA.  2009.  Investigating bacterial sources of toxicity as an environmental contributor to dopaminergic neurodegeneration.  PLoS One 4(10):e7227.
  • Locke CJ, Kautu BB, Berry KP, Lee SK, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA.  2009.  Pharmacogenetic analysis reveals a postdevelopmental role for Rac GTPases in C. elegans dynein-mediated GABAergic vesicle transport.  Genetics 183:1357-1372.
  • Caldwell GA, Caldwell KA.  2008.  Traversing a wormhole to combat Parkinson’s disease. Disease Models and Mechanisms 1:32-36.
  • Gitler AD, Bevis BJ, Shorter J, Strathearn KE, Hamamichi S, Su J, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Rochet J-C, McCaffery JM, Lindquist S. 2008.  The Parkinson’s disease protein alpha-synuclein disrupts cellular Rab homeostasis.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:145-150.
  • Hamamichi S, Rivas RN, Knight AL, Cao S, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA. 2008. Hypothesis-based RNAi screening identifies neuroprotective genes in a Parkinson’s disease model.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:728-733.
  • Cooper AA, Gitler AD, Cashikar A, Haynes CM, Hill KJ, Bhullar B, Liu K, Xu K, Strathearn KE, Liu F, Cao S, Caldwell KA, Caldwell GA, Marsischky G, Kolodner RD, Labaer J, Rochet JC, Bonini NM, Lindquist S.  2006.  Science.   313:324-328.