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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Eric J. Huang, MD, PhD

Staff Physician, Pathology Service, SFVAHCS
Associate Professor of Pathology, UCSF


Exploring Brain Signaling Pathways in Parkinsonís Disease

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system in which cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine die. Normally, these cells transmits signals along brain pathways to allow smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles and movement; their loss leads to progressive impairment in motor skills and speech. Dr. Huang specializes in studying the mechanisms by which dopamine neurons are destroyed and protected from destruction. Recent results from his laboratory demonstrate that the transcription factor HIPK2 is essential for dopamine neuron survival, suggesting that the molecular pathway in which HIPK2 functions could be a possible new target for therapy for Parkinson's disease. Current research focuses on the neurotrophin TGFbeta3, a protein that promotes the survival of brain and nerve cells. Future directions include (1) further studies on the role of different TGFβ and HIPK isoforms in regulating neurogenesis of dopamine neurons, (2) identification of additional trophic factors that regulate the development of dopamine neurons, and (3) investigation of the TGFβ-HIPK2 signaling mechanisms as a potential therapeutic target for Parkinson's disease.

To see Dr. Huang on Pub Med, click here.