Parkinson's Disease Laboratory
The Parkinson Disease laboratory has research interest in all aspects of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Current interests include:
- Measurement of the motor symptoms of PD to assist in their management. The Parkinsons Kinetigraph (PKG) was developed in this lab and is now being used commercially around the world having received FDA clearance last year. Much of our research with the PKG relates to ongoing improvements and studies that arise because we can measure objectively. These include studies on sleep, impulse control disorders and markers for initiating and measuring the effects of advanced therapies.
- Presymptomatic PD. We are using various measurements in studies to address whether PD can be detected early. The aim is to use early detection to better understand the causal mechanisms of disease and develop disease modifying therapies.
- Factors that control the number of dopamine cells in the brain. PD affects dopamine cells and we have found that we can regulate the number of dopamine cells in the normal human brain. We are looking to understand how this is controlled and at the consequences of changing dopamine cells on behaviour and learning.
- Molecule and cellular process that might underlie PD. We are understanding how a protein called a-synuclein might influence the function of the lysosome and affect cell function and survival.
Scientists in the Neurodegeneration division interrogate how neurones live, die and can be rescued to improve brain function in degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Diseases. There is no effective treatment for Motor Neurone Disease and the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease is rising alarmingly in our aging community. Gene abnormalities, energy deprivation, toxic rubbish accumulation and inflammation all contribute to a toxic environment for brain cells. Our teams study these events in animal models and cultured cells, with a view to translating knowledge into new therapies for human patients.