Enhancing the Resolution of RNA-Sequencing to Investigate the Propagation of Parkinson’s Disease

Xinyi Zhang : Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences

Mentor: Aaron Streets, Bioengineering

Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder, which currently has no effective treatment. The development of treatments can benefit from better understandings of how the neurodegeneration propagates in the brain. The most crucial contributor to the propagation is believed to be the transmission between neurons of the pathological protein, α-synuclein. To study the unresolved transmission mechanism, Xinyi proposes an RNA-Seq study on neuronal models to measure the transient responses of cells exposed to α-syn over time. RNA-Sequencing is a powerful tool for unbiased investigation of the highly coordinated responses across the whole genome. The massive RNA-Seq data, however, is often confounded by high noise level and experimental artifacts. Thus, Xinyi will develop a data analysis pipeline that improves the accuracy of signal detection and the resolution in time of RNA-Seq.