CNS News & Events

Rachel Furlong invited to speak at Neuroscience Ireland Conference 2017

1 Sep 2017
Rachel Furlong invited speaker at Data Blitz Neuroscience Ireland Conference in NUI Galway

Rachel Furlong a PhD student in the School of Biochemistry & Cell Biology and department of Anatomy & Neuroscience under the supervision of Dr. Cora O’Neill and Prof Aideen Sullivan, was selected to present at a Data Blitz oral presentation at the Neuroscience Ireland Conference in NUI Galway on the 28th of August 2017.


Her talk entitled "Mechanisms by which PINK1 regulates the activation of PI3-kinase/Akt survival signalling – exposing novel targets for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.”. This is the second oral presentation Rachel has been selected for at a national conference having just completed her second year in the School of Biochemistry & Cell Biology and department of Anatomy & Neuroscience.This research is focused on the role the protein PINK1 plays in cell survival and how loss of PINK1 function can cause early onset Parkinson’s disease. Aberrant activity of the key cell survival signalling pathway PI3-kinase/Akt is strongly implicated in Parkinson's disease. Akt activation is reduced in the PD brain and many PD-causing genes, including PINK1 reduce Akt signalling. This poster highlighted potential mechanisms by which PINK1 may be activating Akt via modulation of the enzyme PI3-kinase and its product PIP3(phosphatidylinositol(3,4,5)-trisphosphate), which is required for activation of this pathway and therefore cell survival. This work has enhanced the understanding of the potential mechanisms that may underlie Parkinson’s disease exposing potential targets for improved diagnostics and therapies.

Co-authors and contributors to the work are Dr Andrew Lindsay, Prof Aideen Sullivan and Dr Cora O’Neill. The work was funded by the Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme

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