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Joel Beevers

Postgraduate Student


I am interested in the molecular genetics that underpin risk for neurodegenerative disease, notably Parkinson's disease. My interest began with my work as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Prof Matthew Farrer at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, where I studied the functional effects of mutations in LRRK2 that contribute to Parkinson's disease. Following the completion of my undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds I came to Oxford to study Neuroscience, funded by a Medical Research Council Scholarship. As part of my MSc studies I undertook a research project with Dr Stephanie Halford in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences working on genes with function in the retina that could be involved in retinal degeneration. I also joined my current group with Dr Richard Wade-Martins where I continue to study the genetic component of Parkinson's disease.

My work comprises an investigation of the molecular mechanisms of the regulation of expression of MAPT, encoding several isoforms of the microtubule-associated protein tau, as well as work on making BAC-based genetic reporter constructs that will be of use to me in my avenues of research. Variation in MAPT is strongly associated with risk of developing Parkinson's disease. In this research I am fortunate to study human dopaminergic neurons generated in culture from donor-derived induced pluripotent stem cells generated by the work of the Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre. The more we can understand how genetic variation or mutations lead to disease aetiology the more able we will be to pursue therapeutic and preventative approaches.

I am currently funded in my DPhil studies by a studentship from Parkinson's UK and additionally from the Gustav Born Scholarship from St Peter's College.

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Recent Publications

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