Parkinson's disease (PD) - Alzheimer's disease (AD) - neuroprotection - gene therapy - mitochondria - oxidative stress

Victor Tapias Molina

Biomedicine (Physiology) Intracellular Calcium Pathophysiology IBGM
My research career

I completed a PhD programme in biotechnology at the Dept. of Physiology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Granada in collaboration with the Dept. of Pharmaceutical and Organic Chemistry, where I analysed the neuroprotective properties of > 200 nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzyme inhibitors in vitro. The compounds considered most promising were tested in a mouse model of MPTP-induced Parkinson's disease (PD). I demonstrated for the first time the existence of an inducible isoform of mitochondrial NOS. In 2008, I started my postdoctoral training sponsored by a prestigious Fulbright grant in the Dept. of Neurology directed by Dr. JT. Greenamyre, MD, PhD, Director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh and Chief of Movement Disorders, where I worked in areas related to neuroprotective strategies and molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration.

I continued my career as a Research Associate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I worked with Dr. Matthew Goldberg, PhD, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Neurology and where I studied how genetic mutations cause inherited forms of PD. In 2016, I was promoted to Instructor in the laboratory of M. Flint Beal, MD, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Dept. of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM), NY. During this time, I worked on the evaluation of novel therapeutic interventions in different transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and tauopathy, complemented by translational research studies. I then obtained an Assistant Professor position at the Brain and Mind Research Institute, WCM, where I worked on dissecting novel molecular mechanisms underlying pathological processes in neurodegeneration and developing effective treatments for PD and AD. I am currently a Distinguished Researcher at the Institute of Biology and Molecular Genetics of the University of Valladolid with a "María Zambrano" Excellence Programme.

My research

My main research interests focus on the development of new therapeutic strategies and the elucidation of pathogenic mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases, such as PD and AD. We are using a combination of genetic and pharmacological tools to improve mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative damage and inflammation. I am also interested in using gene therapy as a tool to study the role of α-synuclein in dopamine-related neurodegeneration. More recently, my work aims to shed light on identifying common mechanisms between PD and AD and how α-synuclein and tau may interact to exacerbate their toxic properties.

During my career, I have been involved in several research projects: (i) Development of new methods to investigate neurodegenerative diseases, (ii) Development of new experimental models of PD both in vivo and in vitro, (iii) Evaluation of neuroprotective compounds against dopaminergic toxicity both in vivo and in vitro, (iv) Investigation of the role of α-synuclein in the pathogenesis of PD, (v) Characterisation of genetic mouse and rat models, (vi) Analysis of new therapeutic interventions in different transgenic mouse models of AD and tauopathy, complemented by translational research studies, and (vii) Collaboration in the characterisation of the first lysine succinyloma of the human brain and global proteome analysis of AD patients and control subjects.