Riken Nathu

Mentor: Dr. Vinata Vedam-Mai
College of Medicine
"I have had a passion for the biological sciences since high school. When I arrived at UF, I knew I wanted to be involved in some sort of research and gain a deeper understanding on a specific subject. Curiosity towards the unknown ultimately led me to pursue research in neuroscience. The brain has always been something has fascinated me. Moreover having the ability to someday affect people's lives through research has made it one of my most rewarding experiences at UF."





Research Interests

  • Parkinson's
  • Immunotherapy
  • Neurosurgery

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program(2016)
  • Dean's List
  • Florida Opportunity Scholar


  • Health Outreach Quality Improvement (HOQI) Program
  • UF Childlife
  • Equal Access Clinic


  • United Way Readingpals
  • Childlife
  • University Minority Mentor Program

Hobbies and Interests

  • Basketball
  • Traveling
  • Cooking
  • Music

Research Description

The Efficacy of Adoptive Cellular Therapy in the Mutated Alpha Synuclein Gene
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder wherein there is a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra region of the brain and subsequently results in the loss of dopamine in the caudate nucleus as well as putamen, which affects the basal ganglia output pathways. It has been demonstrated that there are abnormal aggregates of a protein, alpha synuclein within neurons in PD, which form Lewy bodies. While the exact function of the alpha synuclein protein remains poorly understood, it has been shown that point mutations in this gene are responsible for familial PD. Adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) has recently demonstrated efficacy against mutant antigens in a variety of cancers. This method is a treatment that enables one’s own immune system to fight diseases. In this proposal, we will test the efficacy of ACT in the mutated alpha synuclein gene.