Thomas Jefferson University Research Magazine



The Jefferson Comprehensive Parkinson’s Disease Center is one of the Parkinson’s Foundation’s 33 Centers of Excellence in the United States. Its director, Richard Smeyne, PhD, professor of neuroscience, and his research group are examining the cell signaling and cascade of events that leads to initiation of Parkinson’s disease (PD), seeking important clues about ways to arrest the condition’s progression. Mutation within the Leucine-rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene is thought to underlie about 20 percent of all PD cases. Two of the group’s recent studies suggest that immune signaling from T-cells and B-cells in the blood plays an unexpected and important role in development of LRRK2-related PD.