My professional interests have focused upon the application of a wide range of genetic research technologies (molecular genetics, genetic epidemiology, statistical genetics, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics) in the investigation of adult onset diseases with complex etiology (Parkinson's disease, coronary heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis etc.) and as well as those with Mendelian transmission (Huntington’s disease). I have been a member of the New England Huntington’s Disease “Center Without Walls” since its inception in 1980, and I am a member of the team that cloned the HD gene in 1993. I initiated a genetic study in Parkinson’s disease, NINDS funded in 1997 (Genetic Linkage Study in Parkinson’s Disease, R01 NS36711-09) which was the first GWAS to implicate the cyclin G-associated kinase (GAK) gene in PD, a finding confirmed in many subsequent PD GWAS.
Currently, my lab is primarily engaged in studies of mRNA, miRNA and ChIP Sequencing to elucidate the roles of genes and gene regulation in neurodegeneration with an emphasis on Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Our studies implicating GAK in alpha-synuclein toxicity in PD models, led to award of R01-NS076843-01 (Characterization of the Role of cyclin G-Associated Kinase in Parkinson disease, Myers PI) which focuses on RNA-Sequencing in PD and control brains. We recently initiated a combined ChIP-Sequencing / RNA-Sequencing study in Huntington’s and control brains which led to award of R01-NS073947-01 (Epigenetic Markers in Huntington Disease Brain, Myers PI).