Dr. Laura Parkkinen received her PhD in 2005 from the University of Kuopio in Finland demonstrating some inadequacies of accepted paradigms in the clinico-pathological correlations of Parkinson’s disease (PD). She then worked for BrainNet Europe harmonizing diagnosis of PD-related pathologies, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at University College London studying various neuropathological substrates of levodopa treatment, dementia, visual hallucinations and glucocerebrosidase mutations in PD.
In 2010, she moved to the University of Oxford and now heads the neuropathology arm of Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Center. Her group focuses on high-throughput studies relating common genomic variation with expression patterns of PD risk genes, proteins and subsequent burden of pathology in human post-mortem brain. She is working to establish whether regional/cell-type specific gene expression may underpin the selective neuronal vulnerability in PD. Her group is also trying to establish whether alpha-synuclein pathology in peripheral nervous tissues and in CSF can provide simple, reliable diagnostic tools for PD.