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

Mutant ataxin-1 disrupts cerebellar development in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. J Clin Invest. 2018 June 1;128(6):2252-2265. Edamakanti CR, Do J, Didonna A, Martina M, Opal P. PMID: 29533923

Mutant ataxin-1 inhibits neural progenitor cell proliferation in SCA1. Cerebellum. 2017 Apr;16(2):340-347. Cvetanovic M, Hu YS, Opal P. PMID: 27306906

Advances in sequencing technologies for understanding hereditary ataxias: a review. JAMA Neurol. 2016 Dec 1;73(12):1485-1490. Didonna A, Opal P. PMID: 27749953

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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.