Shankar J. Chinta, PhD

Name of Institution:

Touro University California

Project Title:

Pharmacological activation of TFEB using a small molecule promotes autophagic clearance of aggregated alpha-synuclein: Implications for Parkinson’s disease.


Shankar J. Chinta, PhD

Dr. Chinta is an Assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at Touro University California. He received his PhD degree from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India and post-doctoral training in neurodegenerative diseases from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. The research focus in Dr. Chinta’s laboratory is to understand the role of various molecular mechanisms that cause nerve cell death associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Research Objectives and Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of PD:

Recent studies from Dr. Chinta’s laboratory and others have demonstrated that function of the master regulator of the autophagy-lysosomal pathway (ALP), the transcription factor EB (TFEB), is significantly reduced in people with Parkinson’s Disease as well as in animal models displaying alpha-synuclein accumulation. This study will test the therapeutic potential of TFEB-inducing compounds using well established in vitro and in vivo mouse models of alpha-synuclein oligomerization.

This research study aims to provide evidence that pharmacological activation of TFEB reduces the accumulation of aggregated alpha-synuclein and promotes alpha-synuclein clearance by enhancing the autophagy pathway. This study will hopefully provide proof-of-principle evidence that pharmacological activation of TFEB is a viable therapeutic strategy to enhance the degradation of alpha-synuclein aggregates and may hold great promise for disease intervention in Parkinson’s Disease and potentially other neurodegenerative diseases characterized by protein misfolding.