Our research program is focused on better understanding (i) what causes Parkinson’s Disease; (ii) what mechanisms contribute to the complications of PD and its treatment and (iii) how we can use PD as a model to better understand the functions of dopamine in the brain.
Parkinson’s disease, functional imaging, positron emission tomography, placebo effect
My research program is focused on a better understanding of Parkinson’s disease. We use positron emission tomography (PET) to study chemical changes in the brain. By studying subjects at high risk (with genetic mutations or REM sleep behavior disorder) we can identify PD in its earliest stages, before symptoms appear and study the progression of PD at the time when change is occurring most rapidly, determine how the brain compensates for the loss of dopamine nerve cells and ultimately assess the effects of novel therapies that may slow the progression of PD. We can also use PET to understand how changes in brain chemistry contribute to complications of PD and its treatment, including depression and impaired cognition, involuntary movements (dyskinesias) and impulse control disorders and study the role of chemicals in normal brain function, including the role of dopamine in signaling reward and mediating the placebo effect.
Link to PubMed
- Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Parkinson’s Disease
- Member, Order of Canada
- Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Medal
- Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences