Our research is focused on understanding the cause of neurodegenerative processes in Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders so we can better treat and ultimately prevent these conditions.
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in Australia, affecting about 70,000 people. It is a chronic and progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects people in a variety of ways. Most commonly it causes physical problems with movement and many non-physical symptoms including poor memory, mood and sleep disturbance.
Our laboratory-based research is focused on understanding how Parkinson’s disease damages brain cells and how we can intervene to halt this process. We are also working to develop better diagnostic tools and targeted treatment strategies for this debilitating disease.
We are currently focused on understanding neuronal vulnerability; that is, how and why Parkinson’s disease kills certain cells in the brain. This can help us to find better ways to make cells more resilient and develop new treatments that can protect brain cells. For example, we are investigating whether modifying metal levels in the brain, such as copper and iron, can slow the disease’s progress.
We are also investigating whether brain changes in Parkinson’s disease are similar to those in other brains disorders and what we might learn from these overlapping disease mechanisms.
Finally, our work aims to improve the methods used to diagnose Parkinson’s disease such that it may be identified early in the trajectory of the disease and with greater accuracy.
Our laboratory is part of the ForeFront Ageing and Neurodegeneration Program, through which we work closely with the Clinical Parkinson’s Disease Group. We integrate cutting-edge scientific research with safe and effective clinical care.