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Collaborative Center for X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism
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Laurie Ozelius, PhD, is an Associate Neuroscientist in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. She is part of the Collaborative Center for X-linked Dystonia Parkinsonism (XDP).
Laurie Ozelius, PhD, did her undergraduate studies at Brown University in Providence, RI and received a PhD in Genetics from Harvard Medical School (HMS) in 1994.
Her postdoctoral training was carried out in the laboratory of Xandra Breakefield, PhD, at Massachusetts General Hospital.
In 1996, she joined the staff at Mass General as an instructor in neurology working in the Molecular Neurogenetics Unit under the direction of James Gusella, PhD, and in 1998, was promoted to assistant professor of neurology at HMS and assistant geneticist at Mass General.
In 1999, she took a position as an assistant professor in the department of molecular genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and in 2007 she moved to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. At the Icahn School, she was an associate professor in the departments of genetics and genomic sciences and neurology, and held the Bachmann Strauss Chair in Movement Disorders.
In 2015, she moved back to Mass General as an associate geneticist in neurology.
Dr. Ozelius' research focuses on the genetics of movement disorders, and in particular identifying genes for dystonia and Parkinson disease (PD).
She has been involved in identifying the DYT1 (TOR1A), DYT6 (THAP1), DYT12 (ATP1A3), DYT25 (GNAL) and DYT4 (TUBB4A) dystonia genes.
She also identified a founder mutation in the LRRK2 gene that is responsible for 13% of PD among Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) individuals and estimated the penetrance to be only 35%.
Her lab is currently working on finding genes involved in the penetrance of DYT1 dystonia and LRRK2 PD, identifying downstream targets for DYT6 and DYT25 dystonia, defining the mutational and clinical spectrum associated with DYT12 dystonia and pursuing other genes involved in later onset focal forms of dystonia and AJ PD using next generation sequencing of whole exomes and genomes, as well as genome-wide association studies.
Identification and the subsequent characterization of the various genes causing dystonia and PD will clarify the underlying mechanisms and the basic pathophysiology of these disorders, and provide the basis for more effective treatments.
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