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    Ken Nakamura, MD, PhD

    TitleAssistant Professor
    SchoolUCSF School of Medicine
    DepartmentNeurology
    Address1650 Owens Street
    San Francisco CA 94143
    Phone415-734-2550
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      Dr. Ken Nakamura is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is also an Assistant Investigator at the Gladstone Institute for Neurological Disease, where he runs a research laboratory investigating how disruptions of mitochondria (the “power centers” of cells, which convert nutrients into energy) contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

      Dr. Nakamura earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biological sciences from Cornell University, and an MD and PhD in neurobiology from the University of Chicago. His thesis work focused on the role of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. He then completed an internship in internal medicine and neurology residency at UCSF, and a subsequent clinical fellowship in movement disorders at UCSF and the San Francisco VA. He also completed a research fellowship at UCSF investigating how the Parkinson’s disease protein alpha-synuclein disrupts mitochondrial morphology and function, and contributes to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

      As an attending in the UCSF Movement Disorders group, Dr. Nakamura treats patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, and also performs botulinum toxin injections for selected movement disorders.

      Dr. Nakamura received a Larry L. Hillblom Foundation Fellowship grant in 2005 to study the role of alpha-synuclein conformation and multimerization in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. He also received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists in 2008, and a Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (KO8) from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in 2009.


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      Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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      1. Pathak D, Shields L, Mendelsohn BA, Haddad D, Lin W, Gerencser AA, Kim H, Brand MD, Edwards RH, Nakamura K. The Role of Mitochondrially Derived ATP in Synaptic Vesicle Recycling. J Biol Chem. 2015 Jun 30.
        View in: PubMed
      2. Shields LY, Kim H, Zhu L, Haddad D, Berthet A, Pathak D, Lam M, Ponnusamy R, Diaz-Ramirez LG, Gill TM, Sesaki H, Mucke L, Nakamura K. Dynamin-related protein 1 is required for normal mitochondrial bioenergetic and synaptic function in CA1 hippocampal neurons. Cell Death Dis. 2015; 6:e1725.
        View in: PubMed
      3. Berthet A, Margolis EB, Zhang J, Hsieh I, Zhang J, Hnasko TS, Ahmad J, Edwards RH, Sesaki H, Huang EJ, Nakamura K. Loss of mitochondrial fission depletes axonal mitochondria in midbrain dopamine neurons. J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 22; 34(43):14304-17.
        View in: PubMed
      4. Skibinski G, Nakamura K, Cookson MR, Finkbeiner S. Mutant LRRK2 toxicity in neurons depends on LRRK2 levels and synuclein but not kinase activity or inclusion bodies. J Neurosci. 2014 Jan 8; 34(2):418-33.
        View in: PubMed
      5. Ho L, Titus AS, Banerjee KK, George S, Lin W, Deota S, Saha AK, Nakamura K, Gut P, Verdin E, Kolthur-Seetharam U. SIRT4 regulates ATP homeostasis and mediates a retrograde signaling via AMPK. Aging (Albany NY). 2013 Nov; 5(11):835-49.
        View in: PubMed
      6. Pathak D, Berthet A, Nakamura K. Energy failure: does it contribute to neurodegeneration? Ann Neurol. 2013 Oct; 74(4):506-16.
        View in: PubMed
      7. Manzanillo PS, Ayres JS, Watson RO, Collins AC, Souza G, Rae CS, Schneider DS, Nakamura K, Shiloh MU, Cox JS. The ubiquitin ligase parkin mediates resistance to intracellular pathogens. Nature. 2013 Sep 26; 501(7468):512-6.
        View in: PubMed
      8. Hertz NT, Berthet A, Sos ML, Thorn KS, Burlingame AL, Nakamura K, Shokat KM. A neo-substrate that amplifies catalytic activity of parkinson's-disease-related kinase PINK1. Cell. 2013 Aug 15; 154(4):737-47.
        View in: PubMed
      9. Nakamura K. a-Synuclein and mitochondria: partners in crime? Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jul; 10(3):391-9.
        View in: PubMed
      10. Yoshida S, Tsutsumi S, Muhlebach G, Sourbier C, Lee MJ, Lee S, Vartholomaiou E, Tatokoro M, Beebe K, Miyajima N, Mohney RP, Chen Y, Hasumi H, Xu W, Fukushima H, Nakamura K, Koga F, Kihara K, Trepel J, Picard D, Neckers L. Molecular chaperone TRAP1 regulates a metabolic switch between mitochondrial respiration and aerobic glycolysis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Apr 23; 110(17):E1604-12.
        View in: PubMed PMC3637790
      11. Itoh K, Nakamura K, Iijima M, Sesaki H. Mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegeneration. Trends Cell Biol. 2013 Feb; 23(2):64-71.
        View in: PubMed
      12. Nakamura K, Nemani VM, Azarbal F, Skibinski G, Levy JM, Egami K, Munishkina L, Zhang J, Gardner B, Wakabayashi J, Sesaki H, Cheng Y, Finkbeiner S, Nussbaum RL, Masliah E, Edwards RH. Direct membrane association drives mitochondrial fission by the Parkinson disease-associated protein alpha-synuclein. J Biol Chem. 2011 Jun 10; 286(23):20710-26.
        View in: PubMed
      13. Ishikawa N, Nakamura K, Izumiyama-Shimomura N, Aida J, Ishii A, Goto M, Ishikawa Y, Asaka R, Matsuura M, Hatamochi A, Kuroiwa M, Takubo K. Accelerated in vivo epidermal telomere loss in Werner syndrome. Aging (Albany NY). 2011 Apr; 3(4):417-29.
        View in: PubMed PMC3117457
      14. Nemani VM, Lu W, Berge V, Nakamura K, Onoa B, Lee MK, Chaudhry FA, Nicoll RA, Edwards RH. Increased expression of alpha-synuclein reduces neurotransmitter release by inhibiting synaptic vesicle reclustering after endocytosis. Neuron. 2010 Jan 14; 65(1):66-79.
        View in: PubMed
      15. Fortin DL, Nemani VM, Nakamura K, Edwards RH. The behavior of alpha-synuclein in neurons. Mov Disord. 2010; 25 Suppl 1:S21-6.
        View in: PubMed
      16. Nakamura K, Nemani VM, Wallender EK, Kaehlcke K, Ott M, Edwards RH. Optical reporters for the conformation of alpha-synuclein reveal a specific interaction with mitochondria. J Neurosci. 2008 Nov 19; 28(47):12305-17.
        View in: PubMed
      17. Nakamura K, Edwards RH. Physiology versus pathology in Parkinson's disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jul 17; 104(29):11867-8.
        View in: PubMed PMC1924576
      18. Nakamura K, Christine CW, Starr PA, Marks WJ. Effects of unilateral subthalamic and pallidal deep brain stimulation on fine motor functions in Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2007 Apr 15; 22(5):619-26.
        View in: PubMed
      19. Nakamura K, Aminoff MJ. Huntington's disease: clinical characteristics, pathogenesis and therapies. Drugs Today (Barc). 2007 Feb; 43(2):97-116.
        View in: PubMed
      20. Hara T, Nakamura K, Matsui M, Yamamoto A, Nakahara Y, Suzuki-Migishima R, Yokoyama M, Mishima K, Saito I, Okano H, Mizushima N. Suppression of basal autophagy in neural cells causes neurodegenerative disease in mice. Nature. 2006 Jun 15; 441(7095):885-9.
        View in: PubMed
      21. Nakamura K Kang UJ. Textbook of neural repair and rehabilitation (eds Selzer ME, Cohen L, Gage FH, Clarke S and Duncan PW). Trophic factor delivery by gene therapy. 2006; 532-547.
      22. Hiratsuka S, Nakao K, Nakamura K, Katsuki M, Maru Y, Shibuya M. Membrane fixation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 ligand-binding domain is important for vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in mice. Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Jan; 25(1):346-54.
        View in: PubMed PMC538773
      23. Sato M, Tabata T, Hashimoto K, Nakamura K, Nakao K, Katsuki M, Kitano J, Moriyoshi K, Kano M, Nakanishi S. Altered agonist sensitivity and desensitization of neuronal mGluR1 responses in knock-in mice by a single amino acid substitution at the PKC phosphorylation site. Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Aug; 20(4):947-55.
        View in: PubMed
      24. Fortin DL, Troyer MD, Nakamura K, Kubo S, Anthony MD, Edwards RH. Lipid rafts mediate the synaptic localization of alpha-synuclein. J Neurosci. 2004 Jul 28; 24(30):6715-23.
        View in: PubMed
      25. Nakamura K, Mukherjee P, Swanson RA. Vitamin B12 deficiency. Arch Neurol. 2004 Jun; 61(6):960.
        View in: PubMed
      26. Nakamura K, Roberson ED, Reilly LG, Tsao JW. Polyneuropathy following gastric bypass surgery. Am J Med. 2003 Dec 1; 115(8):679-80.
        View in: PubMed
      27. Kang UJ, Nakamura K. Potential of gene therapy for pediatric neurotransmitter diseases: lessons from Parkinson's disease. Ann Neurol. 2003; 54 Suppl 6:S103-9.
        View in: PubMed
      28. Nakamura K, Bindokas VP, Kowlessur D, Elas M, Milstien S, Marks JD, Halpern HJ, Kang UJ. Tetrahydrobiopterin scavenges superoxide in dopaminergic neurons. J Biol Chem. 2001 Sep 14; 276(37):34402-7.
        View in: PubMed
      29. Nakamura K, Ahmed M, Barr E, Leiden JM, Kang UJ. The localization and functional contribution of striatal aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase to L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine decarboxylation in rodent parkinsonian models. Cell Transplant. 2000 Sep-Oct; 9(5):567-76.
        View in: PubMed
      30. Nakamura K, Won L, Heller A, Kang UJ. Preferential resistance of dopaminergic neurons to glutathione depletion in a reconstituted nigrostriatal system. Brain Res. 2000 Aug 11; 873(2):203-11.
        View in: PubMed
      31. Nakamura K, Bindokas VP, Marks JD, Wright DA, Frim DM, Miller RJ, Kang UJ. The selective toxicity of 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium to dopaminergic neurons: the role of mitochondrial complex I and reactive oxygen species revisited. Mol Pharmacol. 2000 Aug; 58(2):271-8.
        View in: PubMed
      32. Nakamura K, Wright DA, Wiatr T, Kowlessur D, Milstien S, Lei XG, Kang UJ. Preferential resistance of dopaminergic neurons to the toxicity of glutathione depletion is independent of cellular glutathione peroxidase and is mediated by tetrahydrobiopterin. J Neurochem. 2000 Jun; 74(6):2305-14.
        View in: PubMed
      33. Nakamura K, Wang W, Kang UJ. The role of glutathione in dopaminergic neuronal survival. J Neurochem. 1997 Nov; 69(5):1850-8.
        View in: PubMed
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