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BPAN Warriors SMAB Member, Lena Burbulla Awarded 1.5 Million Euro Grant

Lena Burbulla Recipient of Prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Grant

Professor Lena Burbulla, Research Assistant Professor of Neurology at Northwestern University in Chicago, was recently awarded one of six ERC early-career research grants worth approximately 1.5 million euros (1.75 million US). Her research interests focus on the role of oxidative stress in neurodegenerative disorders, particularly Parkinson’s disease.

In her ERC project entitled “Unraveling the Mystery of Preferential Degeneration of Midbrain Neurons in Neurodegenerative Diseases” (acronym: oxDOPAMINE), Burbulla will attempt to determine why cells in the midbrain in humans are particularly prone to accumulate oxidized dopamine, and hence susceptible to degeneration. Her working hypothesis is that defective dopamine metabolism at the synapses (which transmit nerve impulses), in association with a perturbation of iron metabolism, plays a critical role in this vicious circle. To explore this idea further, she also intends to investigate other, rarer neurodegenerative disorders in which defects in iron metabolism are involved.

Learn more about Burbulla and her ground-breaking work:


  • PhD: University of Tuebingen, Germany (2012)

Postgraduate Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Neurology (June 2013)

  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Neurology (June 2018)


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