WCMR Science Seminar Update

In a recent WCMR Science Seminar, the team were delighted to be given research updates from Dr Chun Chen and Dr Roisin Boggan. Their talks reflect the breadth of mitochondrial research that takes place across our Centre and our commitment to transform the lives of those with mitochondrial disease and conditions linked with mitochondrial dysfunction, including Parkinson’s. Read on to find out more.

Presenters Dr Chun Chen and Dr Roisin Boggan photographed with Dr Monika Olahova who chaired the WCMR seminar.

Dr Chun Chen: A Potential Predictor for Parkinson’s and Progression to Dementia.

Dr Chun Chen

By the time anyone experiences the symptoms of Parkinson’s, many brain cells will have already been lost. Identifying people before this point is crucial to begin treatment earlier and to help in the development of new drugs to protect their brain cells. Brain cells need energy, and changes in the generation method of this energy, to function properly. These changes within the brain can be associated with changes in specific molecules within our blood.

In this WCMR Science Seminar, I shared our findings in identifying molecules that are important for energy generation in Parkinson’s. Using blood samples collected at different time points (e.g., before/after treated) from individuals with Parkinson’s, we were able to confirm that the molecules we identified have the capacity to distinguish those with the condition from healthy controls and to predict the progression of disease.

We further investigated changes in brain cells that could contribute to elevated levels of these molecules in Parkinson’s, to help understand more about causes of the condition. A deeper understanding of why brain cells are lost in Parkinson’s will support the search for new targets to help with the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Dr Roisin Boggan: Polygenic scores in m.3243A>G-related mitochondrial disease.

Dr Roisin Boggan

Roisin’s research area is trying to understand why people respond to mitochondrial variants differently, with a particular focus on the m.3243A>G mutation. You can find out more by clicking here.