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Ken Nakamura, MD, PhD

TitleAssociate Professor
InstitutionUniversity of California San Francisco
DepartmentNeurology
Address1650 Owens St
San Francisco CA 94107
Phone415-734-2550
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    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    Dr. Ken Nakamura is a neurologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with Parkinson’s disease at the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic. He also runs a research laboratory at the Gladstone Institutes, where he investigates how disruptions of mitochondria—the “power centers” of cells that convert nutrients into energy—contribute to the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

    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. Nakamura then completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency in neurology at UCSF, and a clinical fellowship in movement disorders at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. He also completed a research fellowship at UCSF, during which he investigated how alpha-synuclein disrupts mitochondrial morphology and function and contributes to the development of Parkinson’s disease. He has received several awards, including a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists.


    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Determining how neural activity impairs bioenergetics in PD pathogenesis
    NIH/NINDS R01NS091902Apr 1, 2015 - Mar 31, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Regulation of mitochondrial morphology by alpha-synuclein
    NIH/NINDS K08NS062954Jul 1, 2009 - Jun 30, 2014
    Role: Principal Investigator
    GLUTATHIONE AND DOPAMINERGIC NEURONAL SURVIVAL
    NIH/NIMH F30MH011986Jul 1, 1998
    Role: Principal Investigator
    RCMI CLINICAL RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE INITIATIVE (RCRII)
    NIH P20RR011091Sep 30, 1995 - Jan 31, 2011
    Role: Co-Investigator

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    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    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.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Mendelsohn BA, Bennett NK, Darch MA, Yu K, Nguyen MK, Pucciarelli D, Nelson M, Horlbeck MA, Gilbert LA, Hyun W, Kampmann M, Nakamura JL, Nakamura K. A high-throughput screen of real-time ATP levels in individual cells reveals mechanisms of energy failure. PLoS Biol. 2018 Aug; 16(8):e2004624. PMID: 30148842.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Horlbeck MA, Xu A, Wang M, Bennett NK, Park CY, Bogdanoff D, Adamson B, Chow ED, Kampmann M, Peterson TR, Nakamura K, Fischbach MA, Weissman JS, Gilbert LA. Mapping the Genetic Landscape of Human Cells. Cell. 2018 Jul 17. PMID: 30033366.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Malty RH, Aoki H, Kumar A, Phanse S, Amin S, Zhang Q, Minic Z, Goebels F, Musso G, Wu Z, Abou-Tok H, Meyer M, Deineko V, Kassir S, Sidhu V, Jessulat M, Scott NE, Xiong X, Vlasblom J, Prasad B, Foster LJ, Alberio T, Garavaglia B, Yu H, Bader GD, Nakamura K, Parkinson J, Babu M. A Map of Human Mitochondrial Protein Interactions Linked to Neurodegeneration Reveals New Mechanisms of Redox Homeostasis and NF-κB Signaling. Cell Syst. 2017 Dec 27; 5(6):564-577.e12. PMID: 29128334.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Haddad D, Nakamura K. Understanding the susceptibility of dopamine neurons to mitochondrial stressors in Parkinson's disease. FEBS Lett. 2015 Dec 21; 589(24 Pt A):3702-13. PMID: 26526613.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Pathak D, Shields LY, 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 Sep 11; 290(37):22325-36. PMID: 26126824; PMCID: PMC4566209.
    6. 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 Apr 16; 6:e1725. PMID: 25880092; PMCID: PMC4650558.
    7. 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. PMID: 25339743; PMCID: PMC4205554.
    8. 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 08; 34(2):418-33. PMID: 24403142; PMCID: PMC3870929.
    9. 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. PMID: 24296486; PMCID: PMC3868726.
    10. Pathak D, Berthet A, Nakamura K. Energy failure: does it contribute to neurodegeneration? Ann Neurol. 2013 Oct; 74(4):506-16. PMID: 24038413; PMCID: PMC4092015.
    11. 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. PMID: 24005326; PMCID: PMC3886920.
    12. 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. PMID: 23953109; PMCID: PMC3950538.
    13. Nakamura K. a-Synuclein and mitochondria: partners in crime? Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jul; 10(3):391-9. PMID: 23512373; PMCID: PMC3701775.
    14. 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. PMID: 23564345; PMCID: PMC3637790.
    15. Itoh K, Nakamura K, Iijima M, Sesaki H. Mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegeneration. Trends Cell Biol. 2013 Feb; 23(2):64-71. PMID: 23159640; PMCID: PMC3558617.
    16. 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. PMID: 21489994; PMCID: PMC3121472.
    17. 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. PMID: 20152114; PMCID: PMC3119527.
    18. Fortin DL, Nemani VM, Nakamura K, Edwards RH. The behavior of alpha-synuclein in neurons. Mov Disord. 2010; 25 Suppl 1:S21-6. PMID: 20187244.
      View in: PubMed
    19. 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. PMID: 19020024.
      View in: PubMed
    20. 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. PMID: 17230483.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Nakamura K, Aminoff MJ. Huntington's disease: clinical characteristics, pathogenesis and therapies. Drugs Today (Barc). 2007 Feb; 43(2):97-116. PMID: 17353947.
      View in: PubMed
    22. 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.
    23. 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. PMID: 15282274.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Nakamura K, Mukherjee P, Swanson RA. Vitamin B12 deficiency. Arch Neurol. 2004 Jun; 61(6):960. PMID: 15210541.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Nakamura K, Roberson ED, Reilly LG, Tsao JW. Polyneuropathy following gastric bypass surgery. Am J Med. 2003 Dec 01; 115(8):679-80. PMID: 14656629.
      View in: PubMed
    26. 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. PMID: 12891660.
      View in: PubMed
    27. 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. PMID: 11144954.
      View in: PubMed
    28. 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. PMID: 10930545.
      View in: PubMed
    29. 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. PMID: 10908294.
      View in: PubMed
    30. 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. PMID: 10820190.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Nakamura K, Wang W, Kang UJ. The role of glutathione in dopaminergic neuronal survival. J Neurochem. 1997 Nov; 69(5):1850-8. PMID: 9349527.
      View in: PubMed