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Dr. Caldwell Speaks about Parkinson's Disease

Biology Department
221 Science Center
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063
(716) 673-3282

Biology grad to deliver seminar on potential cause for Parkinson’s disease


Kimberlee Caldwell
Dr. Kimberlee Caldwell, '87, has done ground-breaking research on neuronal cell death that may unlock mysteries of Parkinson's disease.

North Collins native and award-winning scientist Kimberlee Neifer Caldwell will deliver a seminar at SUNY Fredonia about her research into Parkinson’s Disease during the college’s Homecoming weekend on Friday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. in 101 Jewett Hall. The seminar is open to the public.

Dr. Caldwell, who graduated from SUNY Fredonia in 1987, is on campus to be honored, along with fellow biology alumnus, Dr. John Baust, and Business Administration alumnus Clifton Turner, at the Homecoming Awards Luncheon.

Her Friday seminar, titled “Worming out a potential cause for Parkinson’s disease,” will cover neuroscience, human health and microbial ecology in a discussion of new data Dr. Caldwell has published on a novel environmental cause of neuronal cell death. Dr. Caldwell has found that excretions from a common soil bacteria kill dopamine neurons in two different worms and in human neurons in culture. These are the same neurons that die in Parkinson’s Disease patients.

Her research team hypothesizes that this soil bacterium could be an undiscovered contributor linked to idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.

Since 90 percent of all Parkinson’s disease cases do not have a discovered genetic component, Dr. Caldwell’s team is excited about the environmental lead. She believes that the disease could likely be due to an environmental cause alone or a combination of environment and genetics. However, she emphasized that her team is still a long way from proving that this bacterial toxin is involved in human’s Parkinson’s Disease.

Dr. Caldwell is a native of North Collins, N.Y., and a tenured faculty member in Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she performs research on protein associated with Parkinson’s disease. In 2005, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Academy of Sciences named Dr. Caldwell an Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, and in 2008, Dr. Caldwell, along with her research partner and husband, Dr. Guy Caldwell, shared the inaugural HudsonAlpha Prize for Outstanding Innovation in the Life Sciences.
She was also chosen as a recipient of a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation to further her role as an educator-researcher.

She received her undergraduate degree in Recombinant Gene Technology from SUNY Fredonia after performing research under the mentorship of Dr. Wayne Yunghans, and later her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee.

She has held post-doctoral research appointments at The Rockefeller University and Columbia University in New York and has published in many outstanding peer-reviewed journals including Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Article taken from campus report

Page modified 12/7/15