Neurodegeneration / Movement Disorders / RNA / Neurogenetics
Welcome to the Aw Lab website!
Located at the the IMCB, A*STAR, Singapore, we aim to understand the molecular-genetic mechanisms that underlie neurodegeneration, with a particular focus on movement disorders.
Our bodies are able to carry out almost infinite combinations of movements, from the fine, precise movements of master chefs, to the strong and graceful dynamism of ballerinas. How does our nervous system coordinate smooth movements, and what mechanisms underlie movement disorders during aging and disease? Distinct movement dysfunctions like tremor and rigidity are characteristic of, and debilitating for, patients with movement disorders. In order to understand the underlying molecular, cellular and neurophysiological mechanisms, we carry out experiments to link disease-related changes in gene function and regulation to neuronal activity and specific behavioural outputs.
Our primary model is the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, which has a million-fold fewer brain cells than humans, yet share 60% of our genes. Importantly, two-thirds of disease-related genes are estimated to be conserved in the fly. Our lab takes a cross-disciplinary approach, combining genetics, biochemistry and chemistry, machine-learning, behavioural assays and imaging. We also collaborate closely with computer scientists, chemists and engineers to develop new tools and techniques for research and the clinic.