Parkinson's Disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder following Alzheimer’s Disease. To date, research aimed at identifying a biomarker for PD has, for the most part, focused on measuring the levels of all isoforms of a given protein such as alpha-synuclein or DJ-1 in serum or CSF. These methods, however, have not had the sensitivity and specificity necessary to be used as an indicator of disease. Recent evidence suggests that specific post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation and ubiquitination are key to the pathophysiology of PD. These post-translationally modified proteins have not yet been measured in serum because the concentrations of these isoforms are likely below the limit of detection of conventional ELISAs. I hypothesize that the detection of post-translationally modified proteins will be critical to PD biomarker development. Therefore, I will use technology, newly developed in our lab, which is 100-1000 times more sensitive than traditional ELISA to detect these isoforms. During my PhD I will create a panel of SiMoAs assays specific for post-translationally modified proteins relevant to PD.
Adviser: David Walt