Kaela S. Singleton, PhD
Dr. Singleton is a developmental neuroscientist completing her postdoctoral training at Emory University. She earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georgetown University, and a B.S. in Neuroscience & Classical History from Agnes Scott College. Dr. Singleton is an ENDURE Alum, DSPAN scholar, FIRST fellow, and adjunct professor in the Biology department at Agnes Scott College. She is a co-founder and President Elect of BlackInNeuro an international initiative to increase visibility and amplify Black scholars in neuro related fields. As a postdoc she investigates mitochondria integrity and localization in Menkes Disease, a progressive form of childhood neurodegeneration that is triggered by dysregulation of copper.
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faundez Lab
Department of Cell Biology, Emory University
Dr. Singleton's research interests are driven by three key questions:
How are mature, unique neurons generated and maintained in the brain?
How do pathologic mechanisms disrupt molecular and cellular events during neuron generation and development?
Why do rare genetic diseases preponderantly affect the nervous system of children?
Her graduate research focused on understanding the diverse role of Sox11 a transcription factor critical for neural development in mammalian and non-mammalian models. She identified downstream targets of Sox11 using RNA-sequencing, characterized Sox11-partner protein interactions, and established the domains responsible for Sox11 function both in vivo and in vitro.
Her postdoctoral research addresses the molecular and cellular events disrupted in Menkes disease, a progressive form of childhood neurodegeneration that is triggered by dysregulation of copper. She is investigating the role of mitophagy in mitochondrial retention seen in Menkes disease by using mouse and Drosophila models.
Teaching, Mentoring & Service Philosophies
“When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.”
- Toni Morrison
Dr. Singleton's teaching, mentoring and service philosophies are rooted in her research interests. She believes the formation of a successful, productive researcher is similar to the formation of a neuron. Both processes are driven by intrinsic and extrinsic factors, which interact to create a mature and unique individual. Regarding Dr. Singleton's maturation into a scientist, her identity as a Black Queer woman represent intrinsic factors, while her experiences at an all-women’s college and in an interdisciplinary graduate program represent extrinsic factors.
Her career goals are enriched by the opportunity to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as representation and accountability within the field, and her experiences in inclusive training environments contribute to her past and present ambition. As an independent researcher, she seek to ‘pay it forward’ by continuing to generate high-quality science, participating in the education and mentorship of students, and remaining active in service to the neuroscience community.
Dr. Singleton has earned numerous grants and fellowships in her scientific career. She is currently supported by:
Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience Award
Emory's Fellowship in Research and Science Teaching Program NIGMS, 5K12GM000680-20