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Parnaz Sharifi

DPhil Student

Altered cellular calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis is hypothesised to play a key role in PD pathophysiology, contributing to the heightened vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain as revealed by studies in animal and in vitro models. The recent progress of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology presents novel opportunities for in vitro disease modelling. This project will exploit the technology of iPSCs to generate midbrain dopaminergic neurons from PD patients and healthy controls and investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying midbrain neuron susceptibility to PD degeneration, focusing on the function and dysfunction of plasmalemmal Ca2+ channels. Cutting-edge Ca2+ imaging techniques, high-content imaging and a broad range of cell and molecule biology techniques will also be used to study neuronal biology.