HSCI scientist receives awards to study Parkinson’s Disease

September 21, 2020

HSCI Principal Faculty member Vikram Khurana has received three awards to advance his innovative research on Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that impacts millions of patients around the world.

Khurana is a winner of the “Ken Griffin Alpha-synuclein Imaging Competition” by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Alpha-synuclein is a protein that plays a key role in Parkinson’s disease, forming misfolded aggregates that impact neuron function. Khurana will develop a new technology to track the protein via imaging, in order to better understand its pathology as the disease develops.

Khurana has also received a grant from Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s to investigate why some individuals with genetic risk factors develop Parkinson’s disease, while others do not. He will use patient stem cells to study the different genetic, age-related, and cell-type-specific factors that may lead to Parkinson’s disease, with the goal of developing improved diagnostics and predicting therapeutic targets.

Finally, Khurana has received a Research Project Grant from the National Institutes of Health. With funding over the next five years, he will study the mechanisms of alpha-synuclein aggregation using patient stem cell models and brain tissue. Beyond Parkinson’s disease, this work will shed light on other neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.