Abnormal aggregation of normal or genetically mutated alpha-synuclein protein has been proposed as one possible mechanism for PD. Drugs that can target this abnormal change in the structure of the alpha-synuclein protein may prove beneficial as neuroprotective treatments. Dr. Salafsky has developed a technology, called second-harmonic generation (SHG) that can detect changes in a protein’s conformation. Using this technology, he will create a laboratory screening assay that can be used to screen for compounds that can block abnormal changes in alpha-synuclein conformation. If successful, the assay can then be used in large-scale drug screening approaches.
Dr. Salafsky successfully developed his screening assay and received supplemental funding to conduct compound screens.