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Huntington's disease, gene network, transcriptomics analysis, computational biology, spectral graph theory, neurodegenerative mechanisms


Huntington’s disease is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease that has become a model to understand physiopathological mechanisms associated to misfolded proteins that ocurs in brain diseases. Despite exciting findings that have uncover pathological mechanisms occurring in this disease and that might also be relevant to Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, we still do not know yet which are the mechanisms and molecular profiles that rule the dynamic of neurodegenerative processes in Huntington’s disease. Also, we do not understand clearly how the brain resist over such a long time to misfolded proteins, which suggest that the toxicity of these proteins is mild, and that the brain have exceptional compensation capacities. My work is based on the hypothesis that integration of ‘omics’ data from models that depicts various stages of the disease might be able to give us clues to answer these questions. Within this framework, the use of network biology and graph theory concepts seems particularly well suited to help us integrate heterogeneous data across models and species. So far, the outcome of my work suggest that early, pre-symptomatic alterations of signaling pathways and cellular maintenance processes, and persistency and worthening of these phenomenon are at the basis of physiopathological processes that lead to neuronal dysfunction and death. These results might allow to prioritize targets and formulate new hypotheses that are interesting to further study and test experimentally. To conclude, this work shall have a fundamental and translational impact to the field of Huntington’s disease, by pinpointing methods and hypotheses that could be valuable in a therapeutic perspective.

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