I am a fifth-year graduate student in the Weill Cornell Medical College Neuroscience program. My project is a collaborative effort between the laboratories of Dr. Gabriela Chiosis and Dr. Lorenz Studer.
Midbrain dopamine neurons selectively degenerate in Parkinson’s disease (PD), yet the underlying environmental and genetic stressors that cause the disease are largely not cell-type specific. Numerous studies suggest that heat shock proteins may perpetuate neurodegenerative events. Our goal is to understand the specific role of heat shock proteins in midbrain dopamine neurons during the progression of PD. I use technology developed in Dr. Studer’s lab to differentiate human Parkinson’s patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into midbrain dopamine neurons and chemical tools developed by the Chiosis lab to assay the role of heat shock proteins in these cells.