Nichols Lab Research

The Signal Transduction and LRRK2 Biology Program
Director: R. Jeremy Nichols Ph.D.




 Dr. Nichols is the Director of the Signal Transduction and LRRK2 Biology Program here at the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center. He received his PhD in 2006 in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the Medical College of Wisconsin where he studied the biology of the Vaccinia Related Kinases and virology of vaccinia virus with Dr. Paula Traktman. He then undertook postdoctoral work with Professor Dario Alessi (FRS, FRSE), studying LRRK2 at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit in Dundee, Scotland. He joined the institute as a principal investigator in 2010 and rose to Director of the Signal Transduction and LRRK2 Biology Program in 2013.

The Nichols Lab works to uncover the molecular events that lead to neuronal cell death and pathology that cause Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and debilitating disorder with mostly unknown origins, however some patients develop Parkinson's disease from inherited mutations. The primary goal of the Nichols Laboratory is to investigate the function of genes commonly mutated in Parkinson’s disease in their normal and mutated state. Primary targets for disease modifying therapies are the proteins that mediate the transfer of signals within and between cells, otherwise known as Signal Transduction. In Parkinson’s disease, we believe that new drug targets for disease prevention or modification lie within the signal transduction pathways that intersect with proteins that are found mutated in Parkinson’s disease, especially ones that present clinically and pathologically similar to idiopathic disease.
The laboratory focuses on molecular pathways associated with LRRK2, the most common cause of genetic PD. We are testing hypotheses for post-translational modifiers of LRRK2 and identifying novel targets of LRRK2. We also utilize preclinical models of Parkinson’s disease that include iPSCs derived from patients and murine models of Parkinson’s disease. The program utilizes biochemical, cell biological, stem cell and organismal approaches.


Marc Bolliger Ph.D.

Staff Scientist

Alexia Kalogeropulou B.S. 

Research Assistant

Ty Molitor  Ph.D.

Postdoc / Vivarium Mgr

Marcus Schonemann 

Ph.D. Staff Scientist

Jing Zhao  Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

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