Schuele Lab

Birgitt Schuele , MD
Associate Professor, Program Director of Gene Discovery and Stem Cell Modeling

Dr. Schuele is an Associate Professor and Director of Gene Discovery and Stem Cell Modeling at the Parkinson’s Institute. 

Dr. Schuele heads the neurogenetics program, which includes clinical genetic studies of families and sporadic cases with parkinsonism. These patient-derived DNA and tissue samples are the core and basis for gene discovery, functional phenotype analysis, and biomarker studies.

Since 2008, she has built a stem cell program developing novel “disease in-a-dish” models of Parkinson’s disease using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. Stem cell-derived neurons are representing a new human cellular model for studying disease mechanisms, the effects of environmental toxicants, and for developing new strategies of innovative drug discovery. 

Current Interests: Neurodegenerative and movement disorders (Parkinson’s disease, parkinsonism, dystonia), neurogenetics, genetics, transcriptional regulation, epigenetics, imprinting, nuclear reprogramming, induced pluripotent stem cells, stem cell pathology, aging, mitochondrial bioenergetics

Personal Research Goals: I would like to make a difference in the lives of patients with Parkinson’s disease. I won’t give up working towards the causes of and better treatments for Parkinson’s disease

Education 2001 MD, Medical University Luebeck, Germany
  2001 Dr. med. Medical University Goettingen, Germany
  Curriculum Vitae

Fun Facts: Always look on the bright side of life, although sometimes it is in the shadows! I am training to run 26.2 miles this year.

Danuta Sastre, Ph.D.

Danuta is a Postdoctoral Associate. She has earned her PhD in Genetics & Molecular Biology in 2015. Her doctoral work focused on regulation of nuclear reprogramming and cancer proliferation by RNA interference. At the Parkinson’s Institute, she is using genome engineering to develop novel gene therapies for Parkinson’s using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells.

Current Interests: Disease modeling using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), regenerative medicine, genome engineering (CRISPR/Cas9), gene therapy, RNA interference, epigenetics.

Education: PhD and MS in Genetics & Molecular Biology, Federal University of Para, BrazilBS in Biomedicine, Federal University of Para, Brazil

Fun facts: In my free time, you may see me riding my bicycle or walking my cat on a leash.  

Faria Zafar, MA
Research Assistant II

Faria is a Research Assistant II that earned her Master in Molecular Biology from San Jose State University. She is currently working on generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patient-specific fibroblasts.

Current Interests: Generation of dopaminergic neurons and oligodendrocytes to study disease mechanisms

Personal Research Goals: To develop more relevant and predictive drug screening and toxicology studies for clinical trail in Parkinson’s disease.

Education MA in Molecular Biology, San Jose State University,(EDG 2014)
  BS in Molecular & Cell Biology. University of California, Berkeley

Fun Facts: My passion is cooking and reading books.

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