Dr. Awatramani proposes that there is a developmental basis for dopamine neuron diversity. In other words, during embryonic development, the dopamine progenitor pool is parceled in a manner meaningful to later dopamine subtype identity. Elucidating the developmental basis for this diversity will be critical for understanding differential susceptibility of dopamine neurons in Parkinson’s disease (PD), as well as generating accurate Embryonic Stem cell or induced Pluripotent Stem cell derived models and therapies for PD. Indeed, this has been identified as a priority by stem cell scientists in the field of PD (3).
Rajeshwar Awatramani, Ph.D.