In Parkinson’s disease, a key neuropathological hallmark is the aggregation of misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins that can lead to toxic outcomes. In the aging brain, accumulation of proteins can set off cell death signals due to a reduction in protective mechanisms.

The ability to inhibit protein aggregation during aging would be central in staving off the neurodegenerative process. The current research project asks the question: Can a DNA aptamer targeted to bind to alpha-synuclein monomers inhibit protein aggregation and reduce Parkinson’s–related neurodegeneration?

Professor Matthew Holohan (Department of Neuroscience) and Professor Maria Derosa (Department of Chemistry) are working collaboratively on this project and their presentation, entitled Developments of novel treatments for the good of treating Parkinson’s Disease, will speak to their central research question.