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Parkinson’s Disease

About the IPM Parkinson’s disease project

50,000 Americans present with Parkinson’s disease each year, which results from selective loss of dopaminergic cells in the Substantia Nigra with associated motor neuron dysfunction, leading to resting tremors, bradykinesia, gait difficulties and rigidity.

Working with Dr. Xuemei Huang in Penn State Neuroscience Institute and Dr. Kent Vrana in Pharmacology, investigators in the IPM are exploring genetic predispositions to Parkinson’s disease. In particular, the project has identified several pairs of monozygotic twins who are discordant in disease presentation, with one individual severely afflicted and the other unaffected. Examining the genomic sequence of these individuals may pinpoint specific genetic lesions that would provide not only a prognostic biomarker but also a potential route to novel treatment.

Funding: This project is funded via CURE.

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