2017 Pilot Project Grant

Establishing a new link between brain and body

Dr. Simon Wing | McGill University Health Centre

$45,000 (1 year)

A professor and endocrinologist in the Department of Medicine at McGill University Health Centre, Dr. Wing’s research has focused on why people lose muscle mass when they become ill. His work resulted in the identification of a gene called caps USP19. Coincidentally a colleague in the United States, Dr. Yee, showed that this same gene is a critical player in the secretion of misfolded cellular proteins such as a-synuclein, which plays an important role in Parkinson’s disease.

The secretion of misfolded a-synuclein leads to its uptake in adjacent healthy cells, thereby causing the spread and progression of the disease. Doctor wing is now working in conjunction with Dr. Yee and other colleagues at the Montreal neurological institute to determine if inhibiting or activating USP19 will slow the progress of Parkinson’s disease If the hypothesis is proven with mice, inhibiting caps USP19 may be a way to prevent the spread of Parkinson’s disease in humans.