Grant helps researchers better study important young-onset Parkinson’s protein

January 25, 2017

Dr. Michael Schlossmacher and BioLegend Inc.’s Dr. Peggy Taylor were awarded $200,000 USD by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to create research tools that can identify various forms of a specific brain protein that is involved in about half of young-onset Parkinson’s disease cases. The protein is called Parkin, and it protects adults from an inherited form of Parkinson’s. People who are missing Parkin usually have symptoms starting before age 40. Parkin exists in different forms in the human brain, but researchers currently do not have the tools to identify and investigate these modified forms. Dr. Schlossmacher, Dr. Taylor and their team members plan to develop antibodies that will specifically bind to these different forms of Parkin. These antibodies will help researchers better understand the role Parkin plays in both healthy and diseased brains. They also may help diagnose different subtypes of Parkinson’s disease based on different forms and quantities of Parkin in an individual’s brain. The team plans to distribute the antibodies commercially to other researchers once they are validated.

Additional team members include: Dr. Brian O’Nuallain of BioLegend, and Jackie Tokarew, Daniel El-Kodsi, and Dr. Julianna Tomlinson in the Schlossmacher lab.