Pilot Projects

In order to attract new ideas and expertise to Parkinson's research, funds are awarded to innovative and promising projects as part of the APDA and CGEP Centers for pilot projects. Pilot projects allow a new investigator (or an experienced one entering a new field) to gather preliminary data in the short term to demonstrate the viability of their idea so they can obtain more substantial funding from other sources.

Over the past years, the following pilot projects were funded by the CSPD, resulting in a number of substantial grants to explore new avenues and possibilities:

2011-2012

  • Cigarette smoke protection against paraquat toxicity to subsantia nigra neurons in a mouse model of Parkinson’s Disease, and the role of Nrf2 in such protection (CGEP)
    Oliver Hankinson, PhDProfessor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
    Director Molecular Toxicology Training Program
  • Exploration of the potential effects of engineered nanomaterials on Parkinson’s disease using in vivo transgenic zebrafish model (CGEP)
    Tian Xia, MD, PhD
    Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine & Division. of NanoMedicine
  • Exploring the role of NCX3 in pesticide-induced neurotoxicity (CGEP)
    Sophie Sokolow, MPharm, PhD
    Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

2010-2011

  • Recruitment for research pilot study using CA registry data (APDA)
    Beate Ritz, MD, PhD
    Professor, Neurology; Chair, Department of Epidemiology
  • Analysis of the time-course of monoaminergic homeostatic dysregulation and cell loss in thy-1 alpha-syn overexpressing mice (APDA)
    Nigel Maidment, PhD
    Professor, Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
  • Effect of PACAP gene deletion on an a-syn transgenic mouse model of PD (APDA)
    Melanie Watson, PhD
    Post-doctoral Scholar, Neurology (Chesselet lab)
  • Dopamine transporter knock down in mice: dopamine neuron loss and susceptibility to pesticide exposure (APDA)
    Franziska Richter, DVM, PhD
    Assistant Researcher, Department of Neurology

     
  • A zebrafish model of a-syn overexpression in peripheral sensory neurons and high resolution imaging to examine kinetics and cellular changes in axonal and neuronal degeneration, and to test neuroprotective mechanisms and compounds (APDA)
    Alvaro Sagasti, PhD
    Associate Professor, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
  • Does the mitochondrial inner membrane protease OMA1 complement the actions of Pink1 and Parkin on the mitochondrial outer membrane? (CGEP)
    Alex van der Bliek, PhD
    Professor, Biological Chemistry

  • Effect of PACAP gene deletion on pesticide-induced dopaminergic neuron loss and microglial response in mice (CGEP)
    James Waschek, PhD
    Professor, Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
  • Investigating the effects of expression system and dopamine on inhibition of α-synuclein oligomerization and toxicity by molecular tweezers (CGEP)
    Dahabada Lopes, PhD
    Assistant Researcher, Department of Neurology

2009-2010

  • Reproductive factors and Parkinson’s disease (APDA)
    Nicole Gatto, MPH, PhD
    Assistant Researcher, Department of Epidemiology

  • Effect of PACAP gene deletion on an α-synuclein transgenic mouse model of Parkinson's Disease (APDA)
    Melanie Watson, PhD
    Post-Doctoral Scholar, Department of Neurology (Chesselet)

  • Antisense oligonucleotide knockdown of alpha-synucleing (APDA)
    Miriam Hickey, PhD
    Assistant Researcher, Department of Neurology
  • Glutathione Metabolism in Mitochondria with Elevated Human Alpha-Synuclein (CGEP)
    Joseph Watson, PhD
    Professor, Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
  • Effect of PACAP gene deletion on pesticide-induced dopaminergic neuron loss and microglial response in mice (CGEP)
    James Waschek, PhD
    Professor, Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
  • Anti-α-synuclein aptamers as novel, highly sensitive reagents for diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (CGEP)
    Gal Bitan, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Neurology

2008-2009

  • Examining the cardiovascular abnormalities in the a-syn mice with the cardiology core (APDA)
    Sheila Fleming, PhD
    Assistant Researcher, Department of Neurology
  • Identification of various genetic contributors to PD by cross-breeding the a-syn mice to 10 strains of inbred mice (APDA)
    Jake Lusis, PhD
    Professor, Medicine; Human Genetics

     
  • Identification of PD risk factors in a teacher’s cohort in CA (APDA)
    Beate Ritz, MD, PhD; Professor, Neurology, Epidemiology
    Nicole Gatto, PhD; Assistant Researcher, Epidemiology

     
  • Antisense oligonucleotide knockdown of alpha-synuclein (APDA)
    Joseph Watson, PhD; Professor, Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
    Miriam Hickey, PhD; Assistant Researcher, Neurology

     
  • Global Analysis of Protein Ubiquitination and SUMOylation in Parkinson’s Disease (CGEP)
    Lars Dreier, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Neurobiology

     
  •  Alterations of synaptic transmission and plasticity by pesticides in neurons with altered expression of PD-related genes (CGEP)
    Felix Schweizer, PhD
    Associate Professor, Neurobiology

     
  • Genetic manipulation of mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) function and susceptibility to environmental toxins (CGEP)
    David Walker, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Integrative Biology and Physiology

     
  • Small molecule inhibitors of alpha-synuclein assembly and toxicity (CGEP)
    Gal Bitan, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Neurology