Our mission is to understand the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders and to develop new treatments for Parkinson’sdisease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, affecting over 1 million Americans currently. The societal burden of Parkinson’s disease (PD) will increase dramatically with an expected doubling in prevalence of this age-related neurodegenerative disorder by 2030. While current treatments mitigate the symptoms and disability associated with PD, a major unmet need is the lack of effective therapies that slow the degenerative process. Development of effective therapies hinges on a clear understanding of the mechanisms underlying the neurodegenerative process, yet nearly two centuries after the initial description of the disorder by James Parkinson, relevant mechanisms involved in cell loss are poorly understood.
Our laboratory focuses on two key genes that have been linked to Parkinson’s disease, alpha-synuclein and leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2). In particular, we are interested in how the 14-3-3 protein family regulates the function and toxicity of these proteins in disease. We employ a wide variety of molecular, cellular, and in vivo techniques.