Extending Reverse Engineering to Biology

In our research, we are developing novel experimental methods to characterize   the   redox-properties   of   our   thin   films.   These characterization  methods  can  also  be  extended  to  probe  the properties of biological materials.

Melanin  is  a  complex  and  poorly  understood  biological  material that  has  been  reported  to  have  both  beneficial  (protective)  and detrimental  (pro-oxidant)  properties.  Interestingly,  the  brain  neurons that  are  selectively  vulnerable  in  Parkinson’s  disease  are  rich  in neuromelanin.

Paraquat  is  an  agricultural  chemical  that  has  been  linked  to Parkinson’s disease through epidemiological evidence.

In  this  study,  we  demonstrate  that  paraquat  undergoes  redox-cycling interactions with melanin.

By  applying  novel  characterization  methods,  it  was  possible  to reveal  previously-unknown  interactions  that  may  have  important implications in disease etiology.

Additional Materials