Student working on a research project.

Molecular And Cellular Mechanisms Of Parkinson's Disease

Research in Dr. Jian Feng's laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of Parkinson's disease, a common neurological disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Currently available treatments only alleviate the symptoms, but cannot stop the disease from eventually killing the patient. A variety of genetic mutations and environmental toxins underlie the cause of Parkinson's disease. My laboratory studies parkin, one of the most frequently mutated genes in Parkinson's disease. We also study how environmental toxins such as rotenone cause Parkinson's disease. Through our research, we found that parkin and rotenone act on microtubules in opposing manners to affect the survival of dopamine neurons, whose death causes Parkinson's disease. We have identified various compounds that can restore the function of microtubules as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease. Further research is underway to evaluate these compounds and study the mechanism by which dopaminergic neurons die. In addition to standard molecular and cellular techniques, we are using induced pluripotent stem cells to address these questions in human dopaminergic neurons with parkin mutations.

Research Project Information

Disciplines: Neuroscience, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Stem Cells
Student Skill-Set Needed: The laboratory provides excellent research opportunity for talented undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in biomedical research or medicine. A good candidate is someone who has no trouble with course work and can spend time in th
Compensation: Academic Credit, Salary / Stipend, Volunteer, Work Study


For further information on this opportunity, or to apply, contact:

Faculty Member: Jian Feng
Department: Physiology And Biophysics
Office: BRB 549
Phone: 829-2345