January 24, 2018

Science on Tap to discuss strategies for defeating Parkinson’s disease

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jean-Christophe (Chris) Rochet, a Purdue University professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, will lead the next installment of Science on Tap, with a focus on how to defeat Parkinson’s disease. 

The talk, “Strategies to Defeat Parkinson’s Disease: A Tale of Protein Clusters and Blueberries,” will take place Thursday (Jan. 25) at 6 p.m. on the top floor of Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. The talk is free and open to those 21 and older.

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating brain disorder without a cure. Proteins called alpha-synuclein form harmful clusters and kill neurons in the brains of patients. No therapies exist to reverse this damage – drugs for patients of Parkinson’s disease only temporarily relieve symptoms without slowing the underlying neurogenerative disease.

Rochet’s lab has been working to identify protective agents for patients with Parkinson’s disease, including molecules that block alpha-synuclein cluster formation and compounds in foods (such as blueberries) that appear to decrease the risk of developing the disease.  

“The disease has already caused a severe amount of damage to the brain by the time it’s diagnosed under current neurological criteria,” Rochet said. “In order to have a chance to slow the disease, it will be essential to find ways to diagnose it earlier.”

Rochet received his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in biochemistry from the University of Alberta. He served as a postdoc at Harvard Medical School.

Science on Tap, now led by graduate students Elizabeth Phillips, Matthew Pharris and Paula Cooper, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the event has averaged 80 during the program’s first five years.

The Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology is part of Purdue’s College of Pharmacy

Writer: Kayla Zacharias, 765-494-9318, kzachar@purdue.edu 

Source: Jean-Christophe Rochet, 765-494-1413, jrochet@purdue.edu 

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