Christopher O’Connor, North Central College visiting assistant professor of biology, is coauthor of a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study about Parkinson’s disease and how a protein in the disease acts like a virus.
The study was published April 25 in the journal PLOS ONE by virologist Edward Campbell, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine, and colleagues.
A protein called alpha-synuclein, which is known to be a key player in the development of Parkinson’s disease, is able to enter and harm cells in the same way that viruses do, according to the study. Their finding eventually could lead to the development of new therapies to delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease or halt or slow its progression, researchers said.
Other co-authors are Stacey Sudholt of Missouri School of Medicine; and David Freeman (first author), Rudy Cedillos, Samantha Choyke, Zana Lukic, Kathleen McGuire, Shauna Marvin, Andrew M. Burrage and Ajay Rana of Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine.
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O’Connor began teaching at North Central College in 2010. He holds a B.S. from Drake University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.