Dr. Tegay’s research is focused on discovering the genes that cause a number of common and debilitating yet poorly understood medical conditions including Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Essential Tremor (ET) and Fascioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD).
These neurodegenerative diseases are currently incurable and existing treatments are suboptimal. Development of rational therapies and, ultimately, cures will require an in-depth understanding of the genes that interact to affect pathogenesis, progression, and response to therapy.
Our laboratory’s approach is to use sophisticated molecular genetic approaches for candidate gene discovery to identify genes that contribute significantly to disease pathogenesis. Volunteering patients, identified through our Adele Smithers Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Center and through collaborations with local patient-oriented organizations, have been enrolled in a comprehensive epidemiologic and genetic study, based at NYCOM, that aims to reveal those genetic factors that contribute to disease risk and severity.
In this study, detailed information about patient disease status and progression are correlated with genetic information derived using microarray comparative genomic hybridization and second generation sequencing techniques. These genetic techniques allow us to identify genes that are most important in contributing to disease pathogenesis, progression, and response to specific therapies.
We, in collaboration with researchers at SUNY-Stony Brook and elsewhere, have previously used this approach to identify novel candidate genes for autism, schizophrenia, and developmental disability. It is our goal to use the information gained through these studies to identify novel genes that can be targeted for development of therapeutics that will reduce the severity and/or slow the progression of PD, ET and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Ultimately, we hope that the insights gained through these studies will lead to novel approaches to developing viable cures.