Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder causing motor, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. The diagnosis of PD is based on clinical features and currently there are no biomarkers available to monitor disease progression.
Emerging evidence suggests that alpha-synuclein aggregates can be found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of PD patients, but only at a low concentration. Low concentration levels make detection, quantification, and structural characterization difficult. By using innovative imaging techniques, Dr. Hwang intends to analyze CSF to identify biomarkers for Parkinson’s. New biomarkers may aid in early diagnosis and monitoring, as well as the development of new therapeutics.
This research is funded by the Parkinson’s Foundation and American Brain Foundation, in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Hwang will conduct her research at Washington University in St. Louis.