Name of Institution:
Oregon Health & Science University
Effects of dietary amino acids and TOR signaling on Parkinson’s disease pathology
Vinita Ganesh Chittoor, PhD (Post-Doctoral Researcher and Grant Awardee)
Dr. Chittoor received her MSc in Biotechnology in India and completed her doctoral work at University of Florida. Vinita joined Dr. Martin’s lab at the Oregon Health & Science University in 2015 to pursue her interest in neurodegenerative disorders. In Dr. Martin’s lab, Vinita works on evaluating the influence of diet on LRRK2-mediated toxicity in Parkinson’s disease. She is interested in understanding the molecular pathogenesis associated with G2019S LRRK2-induced aberrant protein translation.
– Ian Martin, PhD (Post-Doctoral Supervisor)
Research Objectives and Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of PD
The objectives of this research are to 1) to study the effects of altered dietary amino acids on dopamine neuron degeneration and locomotor impairment associated with mutant G2019S LRRK2, and 2) to assess the role of TOR signaling in the effects of dietary amino acids on G2019S LRRK2-induced phenotype.
The study will examine the role of diet-influenced TOR activity and protein translation on dopamine neuron viability in aging Drosophila. If metabolically-influenced protein translation is found to contribute to dopamine neuron death in aging organisms, this will be informative in understanding potential mechanisms of Parkinson’s Disease development in humans. Additionally, if restricting dietary amino acids can alleviate the effects of G2019S LRRK2 on dopamine neuron loss and motor dysfunction, this will open the window to manipulation of dietary amino acids, which has been well studied in fields of aging and cancer, as a possible way to manage LRRK2-linked PD.