Parkinson’s Disease

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).

Other Grants

Lindsay M. De Biase, Ph.D., University of California Los Angeles
The role of microglial lysosomes in selective neuronal vulnerability
Synapses, the sites of signaling between neurons in the brain, play essential roles in learning, memory, and the health of neurons themselves. An enduring mystery is why some neurons are…
How the nervous system constructs internal models of the external world
As animals navigate their environments, they construct internal models of the external sensory world and use these models to guide their behavior. This ability to incorporate ongoing sensory stimuli into…
Xiaojing Gao, Ph.D., Stanford University
When Neural Circuits Meet Molecular Circuits: Quantitative Genetic Manipulation with Single-cell Consistency
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. We get sick when the cells “misbehave”. The way modern gene therapies work is to introduce genes, fragments of DNA molecules that…
Rafiq Huda, Ph.D., Rutgers University
Conducting the orchestra of movement—functional role of striatal astrocytes in health and disease
Movement requires coordinated activity across a large brain-wide network. The striatum is a particularly important part of this circuit; it integrates motor-related information from many distinct brain regions to regulate…