Yang Dan, Professor

Closed (1) Investigation of the mechanism of sleep pressure and its dysregulation in Parkinson's disease

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Sleep problems are a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and in some cases an early warning sign before movement deficits. Sleep problems in PD are diverse and can be made worse by medications that treat other PD symptoms by affecting dopamine or norepinephrine levels in the brain. While dopamine- and norepinephrine-releasing neurons (DA and NE neurons) are involved in regulating sleep and are among the first neurons to degenerate in PD, it is unknown if sleep and degeneration have common molecular components. Emerging evidence has shown that reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulate during steady DA and NE neuron activity and that these neurons are inhibited by elevated ROS. It remains to be determined if ROS levels accumulate during prolonged wakefulness and if sleep helps to recover from the cellular oxidative stress imposed by ROS. The proposed research will employ cutting-edge imaging of DA, NE, and ROS dynamics using fiber photometry, optical stimulation of ROS production, and genetic manipulations in mouse models. This project will advance our understanding of how ROS affect sleep quality and whether sleep is protective against the unabated oxidative stress associated with PD.

The project will involve 1) brain sectioning, histology and fluorescent imaging to identify crucial redox enzymes in monoaminergic neurons, 2) constructing EEG/EMG electrodes for sleep recording in mouse models and 3) PCR genotyping to identify mice for experiments 4) analysis of sleep recording data using Matlab (programing experience is not a requirement).

During the Fall and Spring semesters, the student will determine how much time they would like to commit to laboratory work (1-3 hours to start would be reasonable).


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Daniel Silverman, Post-Doc

Qualifications: Interest in pursuing a laboratory research career

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Related website: https://www.hhmi.org/scientists/yang-dan
Related website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-silverman-5743321ba/