Nicole Calakos, MD, PHD
Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology at the Duke University School of Medicine. At Duke, Dr. Calakos cares for patients with Movement Disorders and maintains an active research program studying brain mechanisms for these diseases.
Dr. Calakos’ laboratory uses mice as a model system to study the normal mechanisms of synaptic plasticity, a process central to the brain’s ability to learn and adapt to experience, and how this process is disrupted in disease.
Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by sustained involuntary postures that cause pain and motor disability. Current dystonia treatments are symptomatic and limited in both efficacy and accessibility. Dr. Calakos has identified a class of compounds with promising drug-like properties and efficacy. Putative targets for these compounds lie within the lead cellular pathway, the ER stress response, identified in an RNAi screen to improve cellular pathology.
Because disorders of ER stress and proteostasis are implicated in a wide range of diseases, such as cancer, inflammation, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases, the successfully developed drug may be of benefit to disorders beyond dystonia.
Dr. Calakos received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MD and PhD from Stanford University. She did her residency in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.