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Funded Studies

William Melega, PhD

Professor, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine

Location: Los Angeles, CA United States

My brain research program has a central theme of integrated systems biology in which molecular mechanisms associated with drug abuse and degenerative diseases of the central nervous system are studied. The ultimate goal of these studies is to translate novel research discoveries into human therapies for psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Ongoing projects in the lab are focused on mechanisms of neuroadaptations and neurotoxicity associated with chronic methamphetamine exposure in pre-clinical models. Neuroprotective and neurorestorative interventions are being developed and evaluated for changes in brain neurochemistry and morphology in pre-clinical models of Parkinson's disease (PD). Our recent findings in collaboration with Dr. Dan Kaufman at University of California, Los Angeles showed that a vaccine-mediated immune stimulation promotes neuronal restoration in an MPTP pre-clinical model of PD. We are also currently exploring the use of focused ultrasound to provide reversible modulation of neuronal activity through mechanical interactions with neural tissues. This noninvasive intervention therapy may induce production of neuronal growth factors that can provide neurorestorative benefit to patients with PD or other neurologic degenerative conditions.

Associated Grants

  • Feeding with Clostridium Leptum for Restoring the Integrity of the Striatal Dopaminergic System in a Pre-clinical Model of Parkinson’s Disease


  • Repositioning BCG Vaccination as an Immunostimulant for Slowing the Progression of PD


  • Proactive action of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonist pioglitazone in a pre-clinical model model of Parkinson's disease


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