Tae-In Kam

The pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease is due to accumulation and spreading of pathologic a-synuclein. However, what drives the abnormal assembly of pathologic a-synuclein and how dopaminergic neurons are dying by a-synuclein are not known. In our recent two papers, we found both neuronal and non-neuronal mechanism of a-synuclein-mediated neurodegeneration. Pathologic a-synuclein kills neurons via not only PARP-1 activation in neurons, but also releases neurotoxin from activated microglia and astrocyte.

Questions & Answers

Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?

After getting my Ph.D. with the study of Alzheimer’s disease, my interest was to understand the neuropathology of other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease. The Johns Hopkins University is a top research institute in the area of medical research since we have a number of excellent scientists and a collaborative environment. All these provide great opportunities for making striking discoveries.

What contributed to your project’s success?

The major contributors to the success of my projects are my mentors, Ted and Valina Dawson, and I really appreciate their support. They always give me opportunities to learn and grow as an independent researcher. I also thank Hyejin Park for being a lovely wife in my life and the best collaborator in work, and many collaborators and colleagues for their great help.

What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins?

Working in Dawson’s lab itself has been my most memorable experience at Johns Hopkins. Especially, the best moments are when I get recognition and trust from respectable mentors after overcoming many challenges.

What are your plans over the next year or so? Graduating, looking for faculty positions, etc.?

I’m going to finish up other current projects and look for the next destination as a faculty member.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I had many hobbies, like music, sports (baseball, basketball and soccer) and traveling. However, now I’m feeling that spending time with my family (wife and two kids) is the most precious and happiest ever. Thank you and I love you.