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Funded Studies

Peter Werner, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pathology (Neuropathology) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Peter Werner, PhD is the applicant and co-principal investigator of this project. Most of the project will be performed in his laboratory and at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he is Assistant Professor of Neurology and Pathology (Neuropathology). He is also an Attending Biochemist in the department of Neurology at Beth Israel Medical Center, where he is a co-investigator and co-Principal Investigator in several clinical trials.
Education: Universität Tübingen, Germany BSc 1988 Biochemistry/Biology Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. MSc 1991 Biochemistry Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. PhD 1995 Biomedical Sciences (Biochemistry). Dr. Werner did his thesis work on oxidative stress and its effect on mitochondria in Parkinson's disease with the late Dr. Gerald Cohen, a pioneer in the area of oxidative stress in Parkinson's disease. While at Mount Sinai, he was also trained by Dr. Catherine Mytilineou and Dr. Melvin D. Yahr. Following his graduation, he joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1996, initially as instructor, and, in 1997, as assistant professor of neurology, and continued to work on oxidative injury in Parkinson's disease. In 1998, he moved his laboratory to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), where he initiated work on neuroprotective strategies for Parkinson's disease. Dr. Werner also joined the faculty of the department of neurology at Beth Israel Medical Center as an attending biochemist. In 2000, he was among the first to discover that glutamate excitotoxicity may be a key mechanism of tissue damage in MS, another devastating neurological disease. Research interests are oxidative stress, abnormal methyl-group metabolism and glutamate excitotoxicity as well as general mechanisms of neurodegeneration and neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease and in multiple sclerosis. Other interests concern a link between inflammation of the CNS and the release of an endogenous toxin in the brain, an amino acid called glutamate. While inflammation is well known in multiple sclerosis, it is just emerging as a major player in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. We found that commonly used anti-inflammatory drugs can protect dopamine nerve cells against glutamate excitotoxicity and against neurotoxins linked to Parkinson's disease, such as MPTP, at least in cell cultures. Other work concerns the role of methyl-group metabolism in Parkinson's disease, an area that I have worked on since my arrival at AECOM. Recently, my laboratory intensified the collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Figueiredo-Pereira from Hunter College/CUNY. Dr. Figueiredo-Pereira and myself have pooled our laboratories' resources and expertise to pursue the role of proteasome dysfunction in PD by creating our proteasome transgenic mouse model. We will investigate how proteasome dysfunction affects the development and survival of dopaminergic neurons, especially when stressed with neurotoxins known to cause Parkinson's disease.

Associated Grants

  • Characterization of Dopaminergic Neurons in a Proteasome-transgenic Pre-Clinical Model


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