Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Opal Laboratory

About Our Laboratory

Our research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular basis of neurodegeneration. Currently we are studying human neurodegenerative syndromes that affect the cerebellum and basal ganglia to result in abnormalities of movement such as ataxia and parkinsonism.

We are testing the idea that neurodegeneration results from derangements in relatively few but strategic sub-cellular pathways. By identifying critical components of these pathways one could begin to not only understand the biology of neurodegeneration, but also embark on the design of novel therapeutic agents.

Recent Publications

Early activation of microglia and astrocytes in mouse models of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. Neuroscience. Epub January 2015. Cvetanovic M., Ingram M., Orr, H., and Opal P. PMID: 25595967

An investigation of diffusion imaging techniques in the evaluation of spinocerebellar ataxia and multisystem atrophyJ Clin Neurosci. 2015 Jan;22(1):166-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2014.08.006. Epub 2014 Nov 26. Rozenfeld MN, Nemeth AJ, Walker MT, Mohan P, Wang X, Parrish TB, Opal P. PMID: 25439745

The histone deacetylase HDAC3 is essential for Purkinje cell function, potentially complicating the use of HDAC inhibitors in SCA1. Hum Mol Genet. 2014 Jul 15;23(14):3733-45. Venkatraman A, Hu YS, Didonna A, Cvetanovic M, Krbanjevic A, Bilesimo P, Opal P. PMID: 24594842

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Puneet Opal, MD, PhD

Puneet Opal, MD, PhD
Professor in Neurology - Ken and Ruth Davee Department and Cell and Molecular Biology

Dr. Opal's research efforts are dedicated toward elucidating the cellular and molecular basis of genetic movement disorders, including ataxias, dystonias and Parkinson disease. His research encompasses both basic and translational science to develop new therapeutic avenues.

He has received research awards from the NIH, the American Cancer Society, the National Ataxia Foundation, the National Organization for Rare Disorders, and the Brain Research Foundation. He is a director of the Northwestern University Physician Scientist Training Program and an elected member of the American Neurological Association and the American Society of Clinical Investigators.