Valerie Joers, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Neuroscience
Office Phone: (352) 329-3383
|2014||Ph.D. (Neuroscience)||University of Wisconsin-Madison
|2014-2019||Postdoctoral Fellowship||Emory University
Key Words: Cannabinoid signaling, Neuroinflammation, Neurodegeneration and Parkinson’s disease
My research focuses on the role of cannabinoid signaling to regulate peripheral and central immune cell crosstalk in age-related neurodegenerative disorders. There is a growing appreciation that a dysregulated immune system plays a role in the development of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2) is located on immune cells and upregulated in activated microglia under conditions of disease. Multiple studies have described the immunomodulatory nature of CB2 signaling, yet its mechanism of action is not clear. Understanding the function of cannabinoid receptors in immunity is crucial to determine its’ potential as a therapeutic target to treat the dysregulated immune system in neurodegenerative diseases. We are currently focused on understanding the role of CB2 on microglia function and behavior, and investigating how manipulation of CB2 influences alpha-synuclein pathology in animal models of Parkinson’s disease.