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Featured Profile: Mark Hannink

Mark Hannink

University of Missouri biochemist Dr. Mark Hannink is searching for cures at the molecular level.

Hannink studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate how cells respond to their environment. He was part of a research team that investigated a new molecule that could lead to treatment for early onset Parkinson’s disease. The illness is caused by mutant proteins that cause mitochondria to build up and kill brain cells. Hannink discovered that an alternate protein called PGAM5 could prevent the harmful buildup. The discovery is the first step on a road to possible treatment for early onset Parkinson’s.

Hannink also studies signals that enable human cells to sense and respond to oxidative stress: an excess of harmful free radicals in the body. Oxidative stress has been implicated in many illnesses including cancer, heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Hannink was part of a research team that investigated a new molecule which could reduce harmful response to oxidative stress at the cellular level. The findings could lead to promising new drug therapies.

Dr. Mark Hannink is a researcher at MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center and a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, an interdisciplinary unit of the School of Medicine and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine