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Funded Studies

Paula A. Desplats, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Department of Pathology at University of California, San Diego

Location: San Diego, CA United States

Paula Desplats, PhD, completed her PhD studies at the University of Mar del Plata, Argentina, and moved soon after to La Jolla, California, to further specialize in the study of neurodegeneration and dysfunction of genetic mechanisms associated with it. She completed postdoctoral fellowships in the laboratories of Elizabeth Thomas, PhD, at the Scripps Research Institute studying Huntington's disease and at the Neuropathology Laboratory of Eliezer Masliah, MD, at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). There, her research showed, for the first time, the cell-to-cell spread of alpha-synuclein -- a sticky protein that clumps in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease (PD) -- opening new avenues to understand PD progression. She has been a faculty member at the UCSD Department of Neurosciences since 2009 with a joint appointment at the UCSD Department of Pathology since 2016. Her current research is focused on neuroepigenetics and aimed at explaining the role of DNA methylation -- a mechanism of turning off genes -- in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases and investigating its potential use as a diagnostic biomarker of PD.   

Associated Grants

  • Studying Methylation in the PPMI Cohort to Develop New Biomarkers


  • Identification of Genetic Signatures in the Blood as Biomarkers for Parkinson's Disease


  • DNA Methylation Profiling from Blood as a Source for Biomarker Discovery in Parkinson’s Disease


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