Vivek Unni, MD, PhD

Name of Institution:

Parkinson Center of Oregon, Department of Neurology and Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon

Project Title:

Molecular mechanisms of Lewy body pathology-associated cell death in Parkinson’s disease


Vivek Unni, MD, PhD

Since 2011, Dr. Unni has served as an assistant professor in the Parkinson Center of Oregon, the Department of Neurology and the Jungers Center for Neurosciences Research at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland. He is a physician-scientist caring for people impacted by Parkinson’s Disease and conducting basic scientific Parkinson’s Disease research. Dr. Unni has undergraduate and master’s degrees from Stanford University and earned his MD, PhD from Columbia University. He completed his internship at St Luke’s–Roosevelt Hospital, and his neurology residency and fellowship in movement disorders at the Harvard Partners-Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) programs. Dr. Unni served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and was a staff neurologist in the Movement Disorders Division of the MGH Neurology Department.

Research Objectives and Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of PD:

This funding will support Dr Unni’s work utilizing powerful, new imaging approaches to study molecular mechanisms of Lewy body pathology-associated cell death in PD. By monitoring the living brains of Parkinson’s Disease mouse models, Dr. Unni’s team is able to distinguish between the many types of alpha-synuclein protein aggregates, which can either be protective or toxic, and can potentially lead to new treatments which may slow the progression of the disease.

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