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CIE Researcher of Distinction, December 2018


Jinelle Wint
Jinelle Wint

Each month, the Center for Inclusive Education showcases the outstanding research being conducted by one of our talented scholars in our Research Café series. In addition, we recognize this scholar as a Researcher of Distinction and share the details of his/her journey to becoming an accomplished scholar. This month's Researcher of Distinction is Jinelle Wint, PhD candidate in the Molecular & Cellular Biology program. Jinelle presented her work, ‘Zebrafish a a model for Parkinson's disease: An investigation into the mechanisms of LRRK2 on Thursday, December 6, 2018.



Jinelle was born in the Bronx, NY but moved to South Florida when she was three-years-old.  She attended the University of Miami for her undergraduate studies earning a Bachelors of Science in Biology and General Studio Art.  Jinelle enjoys photography, ceramics and baking in her leisure time.  While she was employed as a medical laboratory technician she decided to continue her education by joining the master’s in biochemistry program at Stony Brook University.  Her research in the master’s program focused on transcriptional regulation in Drosophila melanogaster embryogenesis.  Jinelle continued her education and joined the Molecular & Cellular Biology PhD program and is currently studying Parkinson’s disease in zebrafish. Jinelle is an AGEP-T FRAME, BD, IMSD-MERGE and Turner Fellow in the Center for Inclusive Education. 

JINELLE's Current Research

Describe the work you presented for your Research Café.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects approximately 2% of the population over the age of 65. Approximately 5-10% of cases stem from inherited genetic mutations that provide a window to investigate the pathobiology of this disease. Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) is the most commonly mutated autosomal dominant Parkinson’s disease gene. The key biological processes altered by LRRK2 to produce PD are unknown, but LRRK2 has been associated with several processes including autophagy, vesicular dynamics, and Wnt signaling. We are testing the hypothesis that LRRK2 directly modulates the Wnt signaling pathway as a mechanism central to the pathogenesis of PD.

What was the deciding factor for you to come to Stony Brook for your graduate studies?

While looking at schools to continue my graduate education, Stony Brook was always at the top of that list.  The research being conducted here was highly ranked and my PhD program had a close association with world renowned Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Are there any other projects, beyond your Research Café work, that you are currently working on? 

Another one of my projects involves using other zebrafish mutants that have another genetic mutation in a gene related to Parkinson’s disease.  The name of this other gene is called PARK2,  an E3 ubiquitin ligase, and we have created a deletion mutation that is predicted to impair its activity.  We are employing behavioral studies to screen through the various mutants and evaluate their locomotor defects.  We will also analyze changes to dopaminergic neurons through staining to visualize expression patterns.

What are your future goals?

My future goals include continuing obtaining a post-doctoral position after my PhD.  I would like to continue doing research in developmental biology or disease modeling.

What do you enjoy most about research?

I really enjoy that research allows you the freedom to explore questions that you have always wanted to answer.  I also enjoy mentoring other students and helping them develop their own independent projects to further the progress of science.