Parkinson’s Disease

Dopaminergic neurons located at the ventral midbrain control movement, mood and motivation. Dysfunction of dopaminergic neurons is implicated in Parkinson’s disease, drug addiction, depression and schizophrenia. Generating dopaminergic neurons from stem cells offers a remarkable opportunity to replace sick or dead neurons in patients, to study disease onset and progression, and to perform drug screening.  However, realizing this opportunity requires understanding the mechanisms that regulate dopaminergic neuron fate specification.  Dr. Ma will use his 2012 Seed Grant to use Neurogenin 2, a transcription factor protein that controls gene expression, as an entry point to study how the environment surrounding neural stem cells can affect their fate specification by modifying the activities of transcription factors. It is his hope that the proposed research will not only provide novel insights into how to differentiate dopaminergic neurons from neural stem cells, but also lead to new opportunities for treating Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders.

Other Grants

Sarah C. Goetz, Ph.D., Duke University
Uncovering a Novel Role for Primary Cilia in Eph/Ephrin Signaling in Neurons
2022 Seed GrantSarah C. Goetz, Ph.D. Duke University Women’s Council Seed Grant Primary cilia are tiny projections from cells that function like an antenna- they receive and may also send…
Erin M. Gibson, Ph.D., Stanford University
Circadian Regulation of Oligodendroglial Senescence and Metabolomics in Aging
2022 Seed GrantErin M. Gibson, Ph.D.Stanford University The brain consists of two main classes of cells, neurons and glia. Glia make-up more than half of the cells in the brain…
Yvette Fisher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Dynamic Modulation of Synaptic Plasticity During Spatial Exploration
2022 Seed GrantYvette Fisher, Ph.D.University of California, Berkeley The Virginia (Ginny) & Roger Carlson Seed Grant Cognitive flexibility is critical for appropriately adjusting thoughts and behaviors to meet changing demands…
Byoung Il Bae, Ph.D., University of Connecticut
Unique Vulnerability of Developing Human Cerebral Cortex to Loss of Centrosomal Protein
2022 Seed GrantByoung Il Bae, Ph.D.University of Connecticut Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation Seed Grant The cerebral cortex is the largest and outermost part of the human brain. It is…