Parkinson disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder. Although L-DOPA treatment is applied to alleviate motor deficit in PD patients, there is no cure which can halt or slow the progressive and rather ive loss of dopaminergic neurons.
Our lab has focused on understanding molecular mechanisms of cell death execution in PD pathogenesis. We are particularly interested in poly (ADP-ribose) dependent cell death pathways and its interaction with PD-associated disease proteins. Advanced genetic tools are used to invent PD mouse and cell models to study underlying molecular mechanisms of dopaminergic cell loss. For example, conditional toxic protein expression are temporally and spatially controlled by using Tet-Off conditional genetic switch. In case of genetic ablation study, CRISPR-cas9 system has been applied to intervene specific genetic component in the pathway of cell degeneration.
Another research topic includes identification of a-synuclein membrane receptors which can mediate pathology propagation. a-synuclein pathology oftentimes spreads from one brain region to another, therefore identification of a-synuclein receptors holds important therapeutic value in preventing progression of PD pathogenesis.