Vikram Khurana, MD, PhD

Read about Vikram Khurana, MD, PhD

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, MIT

Target brain disease(s): Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases

Project goal: Identify abnormalities of cells from patients with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases in hopes of developing a personalized neurology approach to these disorders.

Project description: The research aimed to identify and potentially correct abnormalities of cells in the brain and spinal cord called neurons from patients with Parkinson’s, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Neurons, the building blocks of the nervous system, normally don’t reproduce or replace themselves, so when they become damaged or die they cannot be replaced by the body. The resulting study, published in Science (see below), describes how Dr. Khurana and colleagues developed a compound with the potential to reverse some of the toxicity in the brain cells from patients with Parkinson’s disease. This discovery could accelerate the creation of drugs to treat the underlying causes of Parkinson’s and other diseases including ALS and Alzheimer’s.

Link to Dr. Khurana’s study and other related articles:

Funding: Received $130,000 in research funds.