Investigating the molecular basis of parkinson's disease using novel genetic models

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Paul Lockhart 8341 6322 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Yujin Gao 9936 6563

Summary Investigating the molecular basis of parkinson's disease using novel genetic models

Project Details

Parkinson's disease is a prevalent neurodegenerative disorder with largely unknown cause. However, recent advancements in genomic technologies have led to the identification of over 20 genes to be causative of around 10% of Parkinson's disease cases. The key neuropathological features of Parkinson's disease include a loss of dopamine producing neurons and the presence of alpha-synuclein containing protein aggregates in surviving neurons. We recently identified RAB39B as a novel gene for Parkinson's disease. RAB39B has a putative function in intracellular trafficking, and we hypothesise that it plays a role in the regulation of alpha-synuclein.

The aim of this project is to characterise the function of RAB39B and investigate its role in the pathogenic mechanisms underlying Parkinson's disease. Studies will utilise newly developed and unique induced pluripotent stem cell and mouse models with mutations in RAB39B. In this project, the candidate will characterise these novel disease models and perform various functional studies. They will be able to develop skills and expertise in a wide range of techniques including stem cell culture, stem cell differentiation, mouse handling, and mouse behavioural testing. They will also utilise a range of standard molecular and cellular techniques such as real time PCR, western blotting, immunostaining and microscopy. Overall, this project will involve performing preclinical studies on novel disease models to improve our understanding of the molecular basis of Parkinson's disease and identify potential therapeutic targets.

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine

Research Opportunities

PhD students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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