Dr Dominic Hare
Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health
Parkinson’s disease is a complex illness that involves many proteins, genes and enzymes. Dr Hare has applied new ways of imaging brain chemistry to develop a new theory as to why specific brain cells die in Parkinson’s disease. He has found that cells which die off in Parkinson’s disease contain a unique chemical environment that is easily disturbed, triggering a cascade of reactions that ultimately lead to cells succumbing to the toxic by-products formed. In Parkinson’s disease, the chemical dopamine, which controls movement, is particularly reactive with iron, forming toxic compounds that cause cells to self-destruct. The implications of this are tremendous, because if we can find a way to prevent this reaction occurring, we could stop Parkinson’s disease in its tracks.
Dominic runs a website, ferrumblogger.com, to make research into metals in biology more digestible to the general public and has also appeared on the Alzheimer’s Australia podcast discussing the roles of metals in neurodegeneration. He also recently joined a Parkinson’s disease support group in Hobart, to help describe the latest advances in Parkinson’s research from around the world, with the aim of putting new discoveries in context for people who are living with the disease today.