Name of Institution:
Columbia University Medical Center
Novel regulator of parkin levels and neuronal survival in Parkinson’s disease
Oren Levy, MD, PhD
Dr. Levy is the Winifred Mercer Pitkin MD and Assistant Professor in Movement Disorders in the Department of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Levy is a physician-scientist whose research focuses on studying mechanisms of neuronal cell death in models of Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, he is studying the role of the integrated stress response in PD-related neurodegeneration, as well as mechanisms that regulate the levels of the pro-survival protein parkin. He is also a fellowship-trained movement disorders specialist who treats patients with PD.
Research Objectives and Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of PD:
Reduced function of parkin contributes to the development of PD; conversely, elevating parkin function is a promising approach to slow disease progression. Therefore, understanding how parkin expression is regulated could provide important insights into both Parkinson’s Disease pathogenesis and potential therapeutic targets. Very little is known about the mechanisms that determine parkin levels. Dr. Levy’s group has identified the signaling kinase Yes as a potentially novel regulator of parkin levels. This research aims to assess the overall notion that Yes increases parkin expression to promote neuronal survival in PD. Manipulating Yes function might represent a therapeutic approach to elevate parkin levels for the purpose of neuroprotection in PD.
2016 Progress Update:
Dr. Levy has received an extension on this research through 2/28/17. Report to follow in April 2017.