Biology Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Leslie McCauliff

February 02, 2015
  • Dr. Leslie McCauliff '07
  • Dr. Leslie McCauliff '07
Dr. Leslie (Burton) McCauliff graduated with a Bachelor’s in Biology from MMC in 2007.

After graduating from MMC in 2007, Dr. McCauliff pursued graduate studies at Rutgers University and was awarded a doctorate in Nutritional Sciences in 2013.

Dr. McCauliff currently works as a Research Scientist at IONTOX and says of her position, “As part of a consulting company, I lead and support projects dealing primarily with in vitro toxicology and safety screening of chemicals, drugs and even food additives. I am also aiding in the development of innovative products, such as the Dynamic Multiorgan Plate, which will be used for the in vitro assessment of the adverse effects of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.”

Dr. McCauliff recently published a research article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The paper reports the presence of multiple regions on the surface of a lysosomal protein, Niemann Pick C 2 (NPC2), that are required for rapid cholesterol trafficking in cells. The study suggests a novel mechanism for intra-lysosomal cholesterol transfer by the NPC2 protein and additionally contributes to our knowledge of intracellular cholesterol transport, a process that remains poorly understood.

In 2019, she published an important paper in the biochemistry journal eLife on how cells transport cholesterol. Dr. McCauliff’s study, conducted as a Ph.D. student at Rutgers University, demonstrates how cells transport cholesterol and potential methods to combat disorders of cellular cholesterol trafficking. These findings could lead to new therapeutics for an array of cholesterol related disease, including genetically tailored, patient-specific therapies.