Email laura.parkkinen[at]


Laura Parkkinen

Group Leader and Senior Researcher Fellow

Dr. Laura Parkkinen heads the Neuropathology arm of OPDC. During the last 10 years, she has developed a particularly strong niche in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, namely by combining molecular and pathological insights with clinical materials. Dr Parkkinen has worked in four different brain banks (Finland, Barcelona, UCL, Oxford) which has given her a solid understanding on many practical issues varying from donation programs to methodology and diagnostic work. She ran one of the key work packages of the BrainNet Europe consortium aiming to optimise and harmonise diagnostic practice regarding neuropathological evaluation of synucleinopathies. With the recent progress in a number of neurodegenerative diseases in finding genes and hence starting points for the molecular investigation, the importance of pursuing the mechanisms in the human condition, is of vital importance. Her research focuses on high-throughput studies relating common genomic variation with expression patterns of Parkinson's risk genes, proteins and subsequent burden of pathology in human post-mortem brain. In OPDC, she is working to establish whether regional/cell-type specific gene expression may underpin the selective neuronal vulnerability, so clearly defining Parkinson's disease. Her group is also trying to establish whether alpha-synuclein pathology in peripheral nervous tissues and in CSF can provide a simple, reliable diagnostic tool to identify Parkinson‘s patients at the earliest pre- symptomatic stages as well as to monitor disease progression and the effects of potential neuroprotective therapies.