Dr. Rachel Bailey has a broad background in studying protein aggregation in neurodegenerative disorders, modeling neurological diseases in rodents, developing gene therapies to treat those disorders, and identifying biomarkers for human testing.
Dr. Bailey received a dual B.S. degree in biology/bioinformatics and molecular biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Under the guidance of Dr. Jada Lewis, she began her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic and completed it at the University of Florida. Dr. Bailey’s graduate work focused on studying modifiers of tauopathies in mouse models; she discovered that the Parkinson’s disease-related protein LRRK2 enhanced tau aggregation and tau hyperphosphorylation - critical features of human tauopathy.
For her postdoctoral training, Dr. Bailey worked in the Gene Therapy Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the lab of Dr. Steven Gray. She contributed to the preclinical development of an AAV-based gene therapy for the rare pediatric neurodegenerative disorder giant axonal neuropathy (GAN). The therapy is currently being tested in a Phase I clinical trial that is ongoing at the Clinical Center at the NIH (NCT02362438).
Dr. Bailey joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2018 as an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Neurology with a secondary appointment in the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases. She was recruited to help build a gene therapy program that translates gene-based treatments for neurological disorders into human testing through the collaborative efforts of researchers and clinicians at UT Southwestern.
Dr. Bailey and her team engineer adeno-associated viral (AAV )vectors for gene-replacement and gene-silencing approaches, develop methods to target AAV to select areas of the central and peripheral nervous systems, execute proof-of-concept studies in cell culture models, and perform pre-clinical studies in animal models with the goal of translating these therapeutic approaches to human trials.