Ignacio Fernandez Mata, PhD, has worked in the field of Parkinson's disease (PD) genetics for nearly 15 years. As a UW postdoctoral fellow in the Zabetian laboratory, and later as junior faculty in Neurology, he has been a co-investigator on Project 3 of the Pacific Northwest Udall Center (PANUC) seeking to identify genetic risk factors for several quantitative traits involved in cognitive impairment in PD. He has worked with PANUC’s Project 3 large cognitive/genetic dataset to integrate all the candidate genes, as well as the new genetic data from the NeuroX Array, to try to identify novel genes associated to cognitive function in PD. He recently used the generated data to demonstrate that ApoE ɛ4, a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), is an important predictor of cognitive function in PD across multiple domains. In addition to his role in PANUC, Dr. Mata is involved in several large-scale, international PD genetics projects. He co-directs the Latin American Research Consortium on the Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease (LARGE-PD), a rapidly expanding collaboration among six institutions in five countries across South America aimed at generating a unique resource to study the genetics of PD in admixed and Latino populations. As part of this project, the team is collecting cognitive function data from all patients with PD.
In his collaborations with ADRC researchers, he aims to investigate the overlap in the genes and pathways that cause and modulate the phenotypes of PD and AD, and therefore inform the search for novel treatment targets.
Neurogenetics, risk factors for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease in Latino populations, profiles of cognitive impairment in Parkinson's disease