The goal of my research is to integrate three different disciplines. It’s clinical neurology, it’s molecular neuroscience and it’s genetics. And to take advantage of all the latest technologies in those different fields and then integrate them together.
In terms of career achievements in the past ten years, really I’d have to say it’s the application of genetics in movement disorders, and in neurodegenerative movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and related conditions. A much deeper understanding of the molecular problems processes in the brain that are going awry, and the use of that information to create novel therapeutics, basically to treat those degenerative conditions.
The strengths of the University of British Columbia, they are the imaging here—the nuclear physics facility and the medical imaging‑to be able to see the processes happening in the brain, in real time. The Brain Research Centre is incredibly strong in basic neuroscience. I wouldn't say basic neuroscience, it's more applied neuroscience. It's developing assays and looking at processes within neurons themselves, developing assays for compound screening.
There is The Centre of Molecular Medicinal Therapeutics, that’s incredibly strong. There are a number of, well, all of the researchers at the CMMT are world‑renowned in their own areas.
I’m very focused about what I want to do. And that’s really to make a difference in the lives of families, the lives of children in those families, and all family members, and to solve some of these neurological degenerative conditions.
Together, I think we can make a difference. We can understand the molecular problems in these different diseases and we can develop some therapeutics to prevent those diseases from happening in the first place. They can have more than just symptomatic benefit, but they are also going to have neuro-protective benefits, so they can prevent the disease process from continuing. And if we can apply those drugs early enough, they can prevent the disease altogether.
This is my objective over the next…it is probably going to take me 30 years, but I’m going to do it.