Ken Nakamura, MD, PhD
Ken Nakamura, MD, PhD, is a neurobiologist with expertise in bioenergetics and a movement disorders neurologist. He has a long-standing interest in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases, especially Parkinson’s disease. His laboratory at the Gladstone Institutes uses an array of imaging, cell engineering, and screening approaches to study the normal physiology of mitochondria and energy metabolism in the brain. His laboratory delineated new mechanisms of mitochondrial quality control in neurons, and led efforts to identify genes and pathways regulating energy levels, culminating in work defining the “ATPome.” This work has implications for cellular energy control mechanisms in diverse physiologic processes and human diseases. He aims to understand how disrupting mitochondrial functions and metabolism impacts the function and survival of susceptible neuronal populations, and to use these insights to develop new approaches to target energy metabolism therapeutically.