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With an aging population, the number of those affected by neurodegenerative disease is on the rise - roughly 285,000 people in Ontario are affected! Come and learn what Dr. Hayley and his team at Carleton University are doing to learn more about Parkinson's disease. Then stick around to hear Dr. Alecu - one of the very few scientists in the world to study headless sphingolipids, talk about what these mysterious lipids do and why they're important to your health!
Inflammatory aspects of neurodegeneration with a focus of Parkinson’s
Shawn Hayley (Professor, Carleton University)
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases all have a strong neuroinflammatory component. My present research seeks to determine the role of inflammatory factors, particularly microglia, in Parkinson’s disease. We also have a focus on how environmental toxins might interact with genetic vulnerabilities to cause Parkinson’s. They present talk will discuss this and also cover our recent work on how the inflammatory gene, LRRK2, is thought to play an important role in Parkinson’s disease.
The Secret Life of the Headless Sphingolipids
Irina Alecu (Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Ottawa)
Sphingolipids are a highly diverse class of lipids that are essential to life but still remain highly enigmatic, thus being named after the mythological Sphinx. One of the mysteries surrounding these lipids is the class of atypical 1-deoxysphingolipids which have lost their “heads”. Their headlessness prevents them from being useful to cells and from being eliminated from the body, thus rendering them as toxic. They have been associated with a number of peripheral neuropathies,even being implicated in diabetes. The secret life of these lipids will be discussed in my talk. Join Pint of Science