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Daniel Marcellino

Ageing has a profound impact on human society and modern medicine and the consequences of an ageing population is today one of the greatest challenges in developed countries. Age is also the greatest risk factor for the development of neurodegenerative disease. The overall goal of our group is to study the basic mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease.

Common mechanisms have rapidly emerged among diseases that were once considered unrelated, i.e., Parkinson Disease (PD) and Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the two most prevalent neurodegenerative disorders. A recurring theme among neurodegenerative diseases is the formation of abnormal protein fragments, whose misfolding may lead to a cascade of cellular defects and ultimately lead to cell death. In addition, synaptic loss is one of the first steps in the development of PD and AD. Although the cause, or causes are not entirely understood, ongoing research continues to refine our understanding of its underlying pathogenesis. Furthermore, there is a lack of new treatment options for neurodegenerative diseases and current treatment options are inadequate. Current therapies are aimed to alleviate the debilitating symptoms in which none have been demonstrated to slow disease progression.

Research efforts in this lab focus on identifying the cellular and molecular processes underlying neurodegenerative disease and using that knowledge to develop novel approaches to protect against synaptic dysfunction and neuronal cell loss as well as to treat motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. We test the efficacy of candidate products in vitro and in animal models and study and define the cellular signaling pathways to understand their therapeutic potential. Methodology is based on a combination of molecular and cellular, biochemical and behavioral techniques.