Arjun Syal speaking on KXCI’s “Thesis Thursday” – 4/26/2018

Broadly speaking, the Madhavan Lab’s focus is on Parkinson’s Disease, or PD, a chronic age-related neurological disorder which affects over 10 million people worldwide and over 1 million people in the United States alone. One of the studies our lab is working on, the study that I am a part of, examines the interactions between a protein known as alpha synuclein and a stress-protecting factor known as Nrf2. Alpha Synuclein is found to be accumulated abnormally in the brains of PD affected individuals and is thought to cause cellular toxicity via oxidative and mitochondrial stress. Such cellular toxicity leads to the death of specific neurons (DA neurons) which leads to PD symptoms. Also, the accumulation of Lewy bodies is a hallmark of PD, and one of the Lewy bodies main components is this protein, alpha synuclein. On the other hand Nrf2 has the been shown to have the potential to fight against cellular stresses, generally speaking. Thus, if we can show that Nrf2 can directly combat the complications presented by syn aggregation, up regulating Nrf2 levels in the body then becomes a viable therapeutic approach to PD.

Picture of Arjun Syal in the lab

Picture of Arjun Syal at KXCI