• Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Genetics
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, AVC, UPEI

Education and Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
  • PhD, McGill University, Department of Physiology
  • MSc, University of New Brunswick, Department of Biology
  • BSc, Memorial University, Department of Biology
  • BA, Memorial University, Department of History


Stem Cell models to understand the roles of microglia in Parkinson’s disease

Despite being the second most common neurodegenerative condition, effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease are lacking and the mechanisms leading to disease development remain incompletely understood. However, recent large-scale genetic studies have revealed key roles for microglia, the brain’s innate immune cells, in the development of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

The overarching goal of my research program is thus to understand how microglial function and dysfunction can contribute to the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. To achieve this, we are using human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models and gene editing techniques to uncover the molecular and cellular effects of disease associated mutations. Assays to interrogate microglia cellular functions are complemented by in vitro neuron-microglia co-cultures and iPSC-microglia transplants to Parkinson’s disease model mice to understand how microglia carrying disease-associated mutations impact neuron health and survival.