JACKSON, Tenn. – June 30, 2010 – Union University pharmacy professor Angela Monahan presented her research findings related to Parkinson’s disease at the 17th annual Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society meeting June 2-5 at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Monahan, assistant professor of pharmacology, earned a scholarship to attend the event, where she was able to meet other professionals in her field. The trainee scholarship covered her airfare and hotel.
To apply for the competitive award, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Monahan submitted a brief summary of her research. She was one of 22 selected for the award.
“It was the first time I had presented my work as a Union University School of Pharmacy professor,” Monahan said. “I was able to make contacts with researchers at Duke University with similar research interests. The meeting was really good for identifying researchers studying the interaction between the immune and nervous systems.”
PNIRS is an international organization for researchers in a number of scientific and medical disciplines including psychology, the neurosciences, immunology, pharmacology, psychiatry, behavioral medicine, infectious diseases, endocrinology and rheumatology, who are interested in interactions between the nervous system and the immune system, and the relationship between behavior and health.
“The onset of Parkinson’s disease is considered by most to occur in the later years of life,” Monahan said. “However, evidence is emerging that the onset may actually occur due to environmental exposures stimulating the mother’s immune system while the brain is still developing in utero.”
Monahan is researching how prenatal exposures during brain development may contribute to the disease later in life. She expects this line of research to open up new drug targets for Parkinson’s disease patients.