Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder brought about by the progressive degeneration of the dopaminergic neurones of the substantia nigra. This results in a range of symptoms such as shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty walking. Although symptomatic therapies are available they are associated with long term side effects and no treatments currently prevent or slow the progression of the disease.
Familial PD has been linked to mutations in a number of genes whose proteins function in diverse cellular pathways such as mitochondrial quality control, protein biosynthesis and autophagy. In my SI postdoc I will use a variety of structural and biophysical techniques to better understand the functions of PD associated proteins and gain insights into the link between the disease-causing mutations and pathology.