Adithya Gopinath is a 3rd year PhD student co-mentored by Dr. Habibeh Khoshbouei and Dr. Jake Streit in the areas of dopamine signaling, dopamine transporter function and CNS-to-periphery neuroimmune communication in the context of Parkinson’s disease.
Research: My research focuses on the role of dopamine signaling and dopamine transporter function in the peripheral immune systems of Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. Using a novel flow cytometry panel designed to assess Tyrosine hydroxylase and Dopamine transporter expression on monocytes of Parkinson’s patients, we identified significant alterations in expression of these proteins in PD relative to healthy controls. Followed with more detailed immunological characterization, we have now established that PD patients are experiencing significantly altered immunological states directly related to DAT and TH expressing monocytes in peripheral circulation. In order to study this phenomena at the mechanistic level, we have gone on to reproduce these results in two independent animal models of PD, establishing the foundation to study immunological dysregulation in PD and potential interventions to restore immune homeostasis in Parkinson’s disease, which affects millions worldwide.