Christopher Bishop, PhD
Name of Institution:
Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York
Targeting the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus to optimize treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD)
Dr. Bishop is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at Binghamton University. He received his PhD from Wayne State University and his post-doctoral training at Wayne State University School of Medicine. At Binghamton University his laboratory employs rodent models to study how neural circuits are affected by and respond to PD thereby identifying novel strategies for treatment.
The goal is to illuminate the role of an under-studied, but vital brain region known to be altered in PD called the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN).
The PPN is uniquely positioned to influence movement, and loss of cells in the PPN has been strongly associated with symptoms of PD. Although research has hinted that modifying PPN activity may significantly improve treatment, lack of knowledge regarding its function has limited advancement of this candidate target. Our proposed work will address this gap in knowledge.
We will employ a well-validated rat model of PD that displays both motor deficits and response to dopamine treatment commonly seen in PD patients. To investigate the role of specific cells in the PPN, we will employ highly selective genetic and pharmacological manipulations and study the cellular and behavioral responses that ensue.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease:
The proposed pre-clinical work will clarify the contribution of the PPN in PD symptoms and treatment, thereby overcoming a significant barrier to clinical translation. By understanding how specific cells within this structure function in response to the diseased and treated state, novel approaches directed toward those cells and the brain circuits they influence will advance new surgical and pharmacological strategies to improve the quality of life for PD patients.