Investigations génétique et translationnelle de la neurodégénérescence


Alex Parker

Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal


Domaine :  vieillissement

Programme chercheurs-boursiers  - Senior

Concours 2017-2018

The goal of my research program is to discover pathogenic mechanisms and therapeutic approaches for neurodegenerative diseases. We use the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to make novel, genetic models of human diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia and hereditary ataxias among others. We make use of transgenic and DNA editing technologies to construct C. elegans models of human neurodegenerative diseases. With these models we employ unbiased screening efforts, along with hypothesis driven experimentation to find ways to reduce neurodegeneration in our models. With the aid of local and national collaborators we validate our findings in vertebrate models and clinical settings.

We have two main research approaches in the laboratory, high throughput in vivo drug screening and classical genetic analysis. Our large-scale drug screening approach has discovered neuroprotective molecules active in vertebrate models resulting in a Phase II clinical trial for ALS. We are part of national, collaborative effort to establish a pipeline for ALS drug discovery and development. Our genetic and cell biology approaches have uncovered conserved modifiers of disease risk and progression in ALS. Our chemical-genetic research program advances our understanding of the genetic mechanisms of age-dependent neurodegeneration.