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

The role of neurofilament aggregation in neurodegeneration: lessons from rare inherited neurological disorders.Didonna A, Opal P.Mol Neurodegener. 2019 May 16;14(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s13024-019-0318-4. Review.PMID:31097008

Self-assembling vascular endothelial growth factor nanoparticles improve function in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1.Hu YS, Do J, Edamakanti CR, Kini AR, Martina M, Stupp SI, Opal P.Brain. 2019 Feb 1;142(2):312-321. doi: 10.1093/brain/awy328.PMID:30649233

Loss of the dystonia gene Thap1 leads to transcriptional deficits that converge on common pathogenic pathways in dystonic syndromes.Frederick NM, Shah PV, Didonna A, Langley MR, Kanthasamy AG, Opal P.Hum Mol Genet. 2019 Apr 15;28(8):1343-1356. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy433.PMID:30590536

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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.