I graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2013 obtaining a first class BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences. Prior to my current work, I completed a Master’s degree in Neuroscience at University College London. My research, conducted at the Institute of Neurology, UCL, investigated the role of a novel pseudokinase protein in mitochondrial stress and mitophagy in relation to Parkinson’s disease.
Heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding lysosomal enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GBA) are the most common genetic risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. Glucocerebrosidase catabolises glycolipids in the lysosome; mutations in GBA cause the activity of this enzyme to decrease, leading to increased levels of glycolipids and lysosome dysfunction associated with a rise in α-synuclein aggregation.
My research aims to identify lysosomal phenotypes in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived dopaminergic neurons from Parkinson’s disease patients with GBA mutations. I have developed a high-throughput screening assay to assess lysosome activity using a high-content confocal imager, the OperaPhenix, optimised for use with iPSC neurons and cell lines. Using this assay in combination with others, we are able to screen for compounds capable of alleviating disease phenotypes in a high-throughput manner to uncover molecular mechanisms involved in disease progression and identify candidate drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease.