Shining light on Parkinson’s disease by interrogating the LRRK2 kinase pathway

Esther is a programme leader in the MRC PPU and a practising neurologist at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Her interest is in Parkinson’s and neurogenetics with a main focus on unravelling the LRRK2 signalling network and LRRK2 kinase activation using human bio-samples and humans as a model system in health and disease. A major contribution has been identifying neutrophils and monocytes as a suitable biomatrix for translational research into the LRRK2 signalling pathway with LRRK2 controlled Rab10 phosphorylation as a proxy for LRRK2 kinase activity. Esther’s talk will focus on ongoing research activities encompassing LRRK2 kinase activation as a biochemical tool to complement genetic and clinical phenotyping and the link between Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

Esther obtained her medical degree from the Ludwig Maximilan’s University in Munich in Germany and her neurology training from the University of Heidelberg, Germany and the Scottish neurology training programme. She has been working as a consultant neurologist in Dundee since 2016. Esther received her PhD supervised by Professor Dario Alessi FRS at the MRC PPU at the University of Dundee as a Wellcome Trust Clinical PhD fellow on “The signalling pathway of the E3 ligase subunit FBXO7 and its role in hereditary Parkinsonism” in 2014. She has been supported by a Starter Grant for Clinical lecturers and a SUSTAIN fellowship from the Academy of Medical Sciences, has obtained funding from local charities, Parkinson’s UK and the Michael J. Fox foundation and was awarded a Scottish Senior Clinical Fellowship to set up her own group in the MRC PPU at the beginning of the year.