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James Keiler '17: Unlocking Parkinson's Disease

The Research

A neuroscience major, James Keiler is conducting research under postdoc Xiaobo Mao in the lab of Valina Dawson, director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at Johns Hopkins Medicine. The team is using gene knockout to try to isolate the protein responsible for the propagation of Parkinson’s disease. The major hallmark of Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation of misfolded a-synuclein fibrils. The ultimate goal is to halt the transmission of the misfolded a-syn fibrils throughout certain regions of the brain and slow the progression of the debilitating disease.

In His Own Words

“I was really eager to start engaging in research, and Dr. Valina’s lab is so fascinating. I am just one student on a huge team, and I’m learning so much about complicated neuro-degenerative processes. This type of research really makes me focus on the smallest details. I have to pay close attention all the time. I love it.”

Adviser: Hita Adwanikar, Instructor, Neuroscience