Darshan Sapkota

Assistant Professor - Biological Sciences
+1 (972) 883-2511
Office: RL1.706, Lab: RL1.718A
Tags: Molecular Biology Neurodegenarative diseases Neuroscience Retina

Professional Preparation

Postdoctoral Training - Neurogenomics
Washington University in St. Louis - 2021
Ph.D. - Biochemistry, Developmental Neurobiology
State University of New York, Buffalo - 2014
M.Sc. - Microbiology
Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal - 2003

Research Areas

Neuroscience, Neurodegenerative diseases, Molecular biology
We study the regulation of mRNA translation in brain function and disease. Of particular interest is alternative translation, where ribosomes use noncanonical start and stop codons and generate N- and C-terminal protein variants. Two key questions guide us: i) What roles do atypical protein variants play in the central nervous system?, and ii) How is translation impacted in neurological diseases? We have found that a C-terminally elongated variant of the water channel protein AQP4 is involved in the clearance of amyloid-beta from the brain. Current research focuses on AQP4 as well as additional protein variants and utilizes molecular biology, transcriptomics, translatomics, mouse genetics, stereotaxic surgeries, pharmacology, MRI, and behavioral assays. By studying previously uncharacterized protein variants, we aim to illuminate brain health and neurological disease from a new molecular perspective. 


Single cell transcriptomics reveals lineage trajectory of retinal ganglion cells in wild-type and Atoh7-null retinas. 2021 - Journal Article
An inducible Cre mouse line to sparsely target nervous system cells, including Remak Schwann cells. 2020 - Journal Article
Cell-Type-Specific Profiling of Alternative Translation Identifies Regulated Protein Isoform Variation in the Mouse Brain. 2019 - Journal Article
Quantitative Nucleotide Level Analysis of Regulation of Translation in Response to Depolarization of Cultured Neural Cells. 2017 - Journal Article
Onecut transcription factors in retinal development and maintenance. 2015 - Journal Article
Onecut1 and Onecut2 redundantly regulate early retinal cell fates during development. 2014 - Journal Article
Isl1 and Pou4f2 form a complex to regulate target genes in developing retinal ganglion cells. 2014 - Journal Article
Onecut1 is essential for horizontal cell genesis and retinal integrity. 2013 - Journal Article
Onecut 1 and Onecut 2 are potential regulators of mouse retinal development. 2012 - Journal Article
Focus on Molecules: Math5 and retinal ganglion cells. 2011 - Journal Article


Assistant Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2021–Present]
Yichun University School of Medicine, Xianxi, China [2007–2008]
Universal College of Medical Sciences, Lumbini, Nepal [2003–2007]


Rockford Draper Early Career Development Award - UT Dallas [2021]
Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) - National Institute on Aging [2019]
McDonnell Center for Neurobiology Postdoctoral Fellowship - Washington University in St Louis [2016]
Biochemistry Dissertation Research Recognition Award - State University of New York, Buffalo [2014]
Gold Medal (for ranking nationally top in MSc examination) - Government of Nepal [2003]


Role of stop codon readthrough-extended protein variants in the brain and the retina.
Regulation of mRNA translation in neurological diseases.
Development of tools to probe mRNA translation in the central nervous system.


$1,047,000 - NIA [2019/07–2024/05]
Neurobiological significance of Aqp4 stop codon readthrough
McDonnell center for cellular and molecular neurobiology
$30,000 - [2016/04–2017/04]