Overview

The Parkinson's Disease and Synucleinopathies Research Lab at Mayo Clinic is dedicated to studying the various synucleinopathies such as Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy.

Synucleinopathies are commonly clinically diagnosed in late adulthood. However, pathological hallmarks of synucleinopathies begin years before a clinical diagnosis. The Parkinson's Disease and Synucleinopathies Research Lab works toward finding new early predicting factors that may be associated with synucleinopathies such as sleep disorders, gait disorders, anemia, biomarkers and many different environmental factors. Understanding the association of these early risk factors can help specialists detect synucleinopathies much earlier in life, enabling them to provide the best possible care.

The research conducted by the Parkinson's Disease and Synucleinopathies Research Lab aims to identify early predictors of synucleinopathies and to prognosticate them using a translational approach. The new understanding gained by this research is directly implemented to provide the best-individualized care available. Mayo Clinic researchers and providers of the lab strive to make discoveries that will continue to improve the quality of life and health span of those diagnosed with synucleinopathies.

The Parkinson's Disease and Synucleinopathies Research Lab is led by Rodolfo Savica M.D., Ph.D., with the constant involvement of Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D. Their long-standing collaboration has created a research team who work together to understand the cause, pathogenesis and prevention of the different neurodegenerative disorders caused by synucleinopathies or the abnormal accumulation of aggregates of alpha-synuclein protein in neurons, nerve fibers or glial cells. The neurology specialists and research staff strive to directly implement the findings of their research to provide the most accurate diagnosis and the best possible individualized care for people with synucleinopathies.

About Dr. Savica

Dr. Savica is an associate professor of neurology and epidemiology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and an adjunct professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Utah. His principal research interests are Parkinson's disease and neurodegenerative diseases, in particular, dementia with Lewy bodies and dementias, focusing on the epidemiologic and genetic pre-motor risk factors and the clinical features of Parkinson's disease. Dr. Savica's interests include predicting clinical phenotypes of the different clinical types of alpha-synucleinopathy. He is also interested in the role of head trauma and sport-related concussions in the development of neurodegenerative disorders.