Charmaine Lang

Junior Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics

PhD, BSc (Hons I) (UNSW)

Dr Charmaine Lang’s work in the Wade-Martins lab is on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines. The Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre (OPDC) has generated a wide-range of iPSC lines from genetic and idiopathic cases of PD and from healthy controls.

Her research interests primarily lie in the area of transcriptomics and the use of breakthrough techniques including single cell RNA-seq, MinION nanopore and 10x chromium technology, sensitive tools used to identify minute changes in gene expression. This project involves differentiating iPSCs from patients with different types of PD mutations (GBA-N370S, SNCA-A53T, SNCA Triplication, LRRK2-G2019S and LRRK2-R1441C) and Idiopathic PD, into dopamine neurons, the cell type most vulnerable in this disease. From this heterogeneous population she can isolate dopamine neurons by fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS) and perform bulk and single cell RNA-Sequencing to identify global changes in expression in these patients compared to controls.

Using this approach is a robust and efficient way to unbiasedly uncover alterations in new unidentified proteins or pathways that may be attributed to PD that may be therapeutic targets for the disease. She then validates these potentially interesting proteins or pathways, identify compounds that may act on these targets and observe their effect on PD-related phenotypes in the iPSC lines. This reaseach has generated enough interest to have resulted in a recent publication in Cell Stem Cell (2019).

Charmaine is originally from Sydney, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree, a BSc (Hons I) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). She then went on to complete her PhD, in the Parkinson’s disease and neurogenomics lab at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, investigating the connection between alpha synuclein and mitochondrial dysfunction in sporadic Parkinson’s disease. In February 2015 she moved to Oxford to undertake a post-doctoral fellowship in the Richard Wade-Martins lab.