About the Project
Ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s, are characterized by a progressive loss of neurons in particular brain regions leading to characteristic behavioural changes including cognitive decline and sleep disruption. The identification of familial mutations as a cause of Parkinson’s diseases has led to intense research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which various disease-related Parkinsonian mutations affect neurons to cause behavioural changes. We have recently found that a Parkinson’s-associated mutation, G2019S, in leucine-rich repeated kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene recapitulates sleep phenotypes in the model organism Drosophila Melanogaster. The LRRK2-G2019S protein has increased kinase activity and this drives pathogenesis but the LRRK2 substrates and molecular mechanisms that underlie this remain unclear. Several putative substrates have been identified but have not yet been linked causally to the disease phenotypes. This project will use molecular, genetic and behavioural approaches in Drosophila to investigate whether putative LRRK2 substrates acting in particular neuronal circuits underlie the sleep phenotypes in Parkinson’s disease.
This is a self-funded project. Applicants need to have adequate funds to meet the costs of a self-funded research project including tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the research programme. Please see information on tuition fee costs, living expenses and funding opportunities.