More than 100,000 Canadians are living with Parkinson’s disease today, and about 6,600 new cases are diagnosed each year.
Dr. Janelle Drouin-Ouellet, Canada Research Chair in Direct neural reprogramming, is studying the molecular defects involved in Parkinson’s disease. She and her research team are reprogramming urine and skin cells from patients with Parkinson’s to generate brain cells known as neurons and glia. Neurons transmit signals between each other and from one body part to another, while glia support and protect neurons. Ultimately, this research will provide a new model of patient-derived brain cells to support precision neurology and the discovery of new drugs to treat Parkinson’s.