Eunsung Junn, PhD


Eunsung Junn, PhD

Name of Institution:

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey

Project Title:

In vivo identification of microRNAs associated with alpha-Synuclein (αsyn) mRNA

Investigator Bio:

Dr. Eunsung Junn received his PhD from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at NIH. He is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The main research focus in Dr. Junn’s lab is to understand the role of microRNAs in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease.


The aim is to identify microRNAs associated with full-length αsyn messenger RNA (mRNA).


MicroRNAs are small pieces of RNA that inhibit mRNA translation by binding to specific region(s) of mRNA. Using current methods involving computer algorithms, finding microRNAs that modulate the production of αsyn has been difficult.


We plan to identify microRNAs associated with full-length αsyn mRNA from cell cultures and post-mortem brain tissues, using a capture affinity method involving a biotinylated DNA antisense oligonucleotide.

Relevance to diagnosis/treatment of Parkinson’s disease:

Given that elevated levels of αsyn protein can cause Parkinson’s disease in inherited cases and increase disease risk in sporadic cases, microRNAs that downregulate αsyn protein production are of interest for therapeutic intervention.