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Ken Nakamura, MD, PhD

Title(s)Associate Professor, Neurology
SchoolSchool of Medicine
Address1650 Owens St
San Francisco CA 94107
Phone415-734-2550
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    Other Positions
    Title(s)UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences


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    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 
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    Understand and probing disrupted glucose metabolism in Alzheimer's disease
    NIH/NIA R01AG064170Aug 1, 2019 - Mar 31, 2024
    Role: Principal Investigator
    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. to make corrections and additions.
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    Altmetrics Details PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. A high-throughput screen of real-time ATP levels in individual cells reveals mechanisms of energy failure. PLoS Biol. 2018 08; 16(8):e2004624. 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. PMID: 30148842.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    2. Mapping the Genetic Landscape of Human Cells. Cell. 2018 08 09; 174(4):953-967.e22. 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. PMID: 30033366.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 15     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    3. A Map of Human Mitochondrial Protein Interactions Linked to Neurodegeneration Reveals New Mechanisms of Redox Homeostasis and NF-?B Signaling. Cell Syst. 2017 12 27; 5(6):564-577.e12. 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. PMID: 29128334.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    4. Understanding the susceptibility of dopamine neurons to mitochondrial stressors in Parkinson's disease. FEBS Lett. 2015 Dec 21; 589(24 Pt A):3702-13. Haddad D, Nakamura K. PMID: 26526613.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    5. The role of mitochondrially derived ATP in synaptic vesicle recycling. J Biol Chem. 2015 Sep 11; 290(37):22325-36. Pathak D, Shields LY, Mendelsohn BA, Haddad D, Lin W, Gerencser AA, Kim H, Brand MD, Edwards RH, Nakamura K. PMID: 26126824.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 44     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    6. 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. 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. PMID: 25880092.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 23     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    7. Loss of mitochondrial fission depletes axonal mitochondria in midbrain dopamine neurons. J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 22; 34(43):14304-17. Berthet A, Margolis EB, Zhang J, Hsieh I, Zhang J, Hnasko TS, Ahmad J, Edwards RH, Sesaki H, Huang EJ, Nakamura K. PMID: 25339743.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 53     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    8. 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. Skibinski G, Nakamura K, Cookson MR, Finkbeiner S. PMID: 24403142.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 49     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    9. SIRT4 regulates ATP homeostasis and mediates a retrograde signaling via AMPK. Aging (Albany NY). 2013 Nov; 5(11):835-49. Ho L, Titus AS, Banerjee KK, George S, Lin W, Deota S, Saha AK, Nakamura K, Gut P, Verdin E, Kolthur-Seetharam U. PMID: 24296486.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 38     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    10. Energy failure: does it contribute to neurodegeneration? Ann Neurol. 2013 Oct; 74(4):506-16. Pathak D, Berthet A, Nakamura K. PMID: 24038413.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 33     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    11. The ubiquitin ligase parkin mediates resistance to intracellular pathogens. Nature. 2013 Sep 26; 501(7468):512-6. Manzanillo PS, Ayres JS, Watson RO, Collins AC, Souza G, Rae CS, Schneider DS, Nakamura K, Shiloh MU, Cox JS. PMID: 24005326.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 168     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    12. A neo-substrate that amplifies catalytic activity of parkinson's-disease-related kinase PINK1. Cell. 2013 Aug 15; 154(4):737-47. Hertz NT, Berthet A, Sos ML, Thorn KS, Burlingame AL, Nakamura K, Shokat KM. PMID: 23953109.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 50     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    13. a-Synuclein and mitochondria: partners in crime? Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jul; 10(3):391-9. Nakamura K. PMID: 23512373.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 35     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    14. 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. 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. PMID: 23564345.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 60     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    15. Mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegeneration. Trends Cell Biol. 2013 Feb; 23(2):64-71. Itoh K, Nakamura K, Iijima M, Sesaki H. PMID: 23159640.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 141     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    16. Direct membrane association drives mitochondrial fission by the Parkinson disease-associated protein alpha-synuclein. J Biol Chem. 2011 Jun 10; 286(23):20710-26. 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. PMID: 21489994.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 181     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    17. Increased expression of alpha-synuclein reduces neurotransmitter release by inhibiting synaptic vesicle reclustering after endocytosis. Neuron. 2010 Jan 14; 65(1):66-79. Nemani VM, Lu W, Berge V, Nakamura K, Onoa B, Lee MK, Chaudhry FA, Nicoll RA, Edwards RH. PMID: 20152114.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 326     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    18. The behavior of alpha-synuclein in neurons. Mov Disord. 2010; 25 Suppl 1:S21-6. Fortin DL, Nemani VM, Nakamura K, Edwards RH. PMID: 20187244.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 10     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    19. Optical reporters for the conformation of alpha-synuclein reveal a specific interaction with mitochondria. J Neurosci. 2008 Nov 19; 28(47):12305-17. Nakamura K, Nemani VM, Wallender EK, Kaehlcke K, Ott M, Edwards RH. PMID: 19020024.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 66     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    20. 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. Nakamura K, Christine CW, Starr PA, Marks WJ. PMID: 17230483.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 13     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    21. Huntington's disease: clinical characteristics, pathogenesis and therapies. Drugs Today (Barc). 2007 Feb; 43(2):97-116. Nakamura K, Aminoff MJ. PMID: 17353947.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    22. 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. Nakamura K Kang UJ..
    23. Lipid rafts mediate the synaptic localization of alpha-synuclein. J Neurosci. 2004 Jul 28; 24(30):6715-23. Fortin DL, Troyer MD, Nakamura K, Kubo S, Anthony MD, Edwards RH. PMID: 15282274.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 152     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimalsCells
    24. Vitamin B12 deficiency. Arch Neurol. 2004 Jun; 61(6):960. Nakamura K, Mukherjee P, Swanson RA. PMID: 15210541.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    25. Polyneuropathy following gastric bypass surgery. Am J Med. 2003 Dec 01; 115(8):679-80. Nakamura K, Roberson ED, Reilly LG, Tsao JW. PMID: 14656629.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. Potential of gene therapy for pediatric neurotransmitter diseases: lessons from Parkinson's disease. Ann Neurol. 2003; 54 Suppl 6:S103-9. Kang UJ, Nakamura K. PMID: 12891660.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    27. 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. Nakamura K, Ahmed M, Barr E, Leiden JM, Kang UJ. PMID: 11144954.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    28. Preferential resistance of dopaminergic neurons to glutathione depletion in a reconstituted nigrostriatal system. Brain Res. 2000 Aug 11; 873(2):203-11. Nakamura K, Won L, Heller A, Kang UJ. PMID: 10930545.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    29. 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. Nakamura K, Bindokas VP, Marks JD, Wright DA, Frim DM, Miller RJ, Kang UJ. PMID: 10908294.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 20     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    30. 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. Nakamura K, Wright DA, Wiatr T, Kowlessur D, Milstien S, Lei XG, Kang UJ. PMID: 10820190.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    31. The role of glutathione in dopaminergic neuronal survival. J Neurochem. 1997 Nov; 69(5):1850-8. Nakamura K, Wang W, Kang UJ. PMID: 9349527.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 17     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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