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Miquel Vila "Molecular mechanisms of dopaminergic neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease."

Abstract :

The cause and mechanisms of dopaminergic neuron cell death in sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) remain virtually unknown, thereby precluding the development of disease-modifying therapies for this disabling, currently incurable disorder.
Here we will discuss some of the molecular mechanisms that have been linked to PD-related dopaminergic neurodegeneration based on the work performed in experimental animal models, with special emphasis to the role of mitochondrial dysfunction, alterations in α-synuclein biology, defects in autophagy degradation systems and activation of programmed cell death pathways. Genetic or pharmacological interventions aimed at restoring these alterations have proven able to modify the fate of dopaminergic neurons in experimental PD models, thus holding promise as potential therapeutic targets for the development of neuroprotective interventions for PD.

Selected publications

Fighting neurodegeneration with rapamycin: mechanistic insights.Bové J, Martínez-Vicente M, Vila M.
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2011 Jul 20;12(8):437-52. doi: 10.1038/nrn3068.

Mitochondria and Programmed Cell Death in Parkinson's Disease: Apoptosis and Beyond. Perier C, Bové J, Vila M. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Jul 18.

Scientific focus :

Miquel Vila received his M.D. from the University of Barcelona Medical School (Barcelona, Spain) in 1993. He then moved to the laboratory of Experimental Neurology and Therapeutics, INSERM U289 (Prof. Yves Agid) at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris (France), where he obtained his Master degree (D.E.A.) and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Paris VI (Pierre et Marie Curie), under the supervision of Dr. Etienne Hirsch. His Ph.D. work was devoted to the study of the functional consequences of dopaminergic neurodegeneration on the functioning of the basal ganglia. From 1998 to 2001, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the laboratory of Dr. Serge Przedborski at the Department of Neurology, Movement Disorders Division, at Columbia University (New York, USA), focusing on the molecular mechanisms of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease. In 2001, he obtained a position as an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Columbia University to continue his work on neurodegeneration, supported by the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Defense. In 2006, he moved back to Barcelona as a Research Professor at ICREA (Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies) to develop a new research group on Neurodegeneration at the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, thanks to the support of a European Commission's Marie Curie Excellence Grant. He also holds positions as an Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at Columbia University.

Erwan Bézard directeur de l'IMN