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Lab Phone: 617-764-9611
Neurology Access Center: 1-855-644-6387
Research Investigator Profile
Michael A. Schwarzschild, MD, PhD
The Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at MGH/MIND, under the direction of Michael Schwarzschild, MD PhD, investigates molecular mechanisms in mouse models of Parkinson’s disease in an effort to develop improved therapies for Parkinson’s and related neurodegenerative diseases. We focus on a natural class of compounds known as purines, in particular the role of three purines — adenosine, caffeine and urate — and how targeting them may prevent or slow the brain cell degeneration of Parkinson’s.
The lab is pursuing major epidemiological and clinical clues to the disease through fruitful inter-disciplinary collaborations with the research group of Professor Alberto Ascherio at the Harvard School of Public Health and with the Parkinson Study Group of North America. Caffeine and urate are linked to a lower risk of Parkinson’s and/or to a slower rate of disease progression in humans.
The lab explores how caffeine (and other blockers of the adenosine A2A receptor) and urate may be protecting brain cells in Parkinson’s. We employ complementary pharmacological and genetic (e.g., gene knockout) tools to dissect the role of adenosine and urate pathways in the brains of parkinsonian mice. We are also studying the role of adenosine receptors in the disabling motor complications (abnormal involuntary movements known as dyiskinesia) that are sometimes triggered by standard anti-parkinsonian therapy. Read More.
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