Megan F. Duffy

  • Graduate Students

Faculty Advisor: Caryl E. Sortwell, PhD & Timothy J. Collier, PhD

B.S., 2013, Indiana University

Entered Program in 2013
Department of Translational Science & Molecular Medicine

Academic and Research Background

I received my B.S. in Psychology, certificate in Neuroscience, and minors in Biology and History from Indiana University Bloomington in 2013. As an undergraduate, I worked as a teaching assistant for a neuroscience class within the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. I also worked as a research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. George Rebec, utilizing fast-scan cyclic voltammetry to analyze dopamine release dynamics in mouse models of Huntington's disease.

Current Research Interests

Currently, there are no treatments to slow or halt the progression of nigrostriatal degeneration in Parkinson's disease. Recent studies have suggested a role for neuroinflammation early in disease pathology, thought to be secondary to accumulation and aggregation of alpha-synuclein. My current research focuses on delineating the temporal relationship between alpha-synuclein aggregation, neuroinflammation, and nigrostriatal degeneration induced by alpha-synuclein preformed fibrils and to use this model as a platform for investigating the potential of anti-inflammatory therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease.

Personal Interests

In my spare time I enjoy cooking, strength training and playing sports, traveling to Ireland and England to visit family, and college basketball season.


  • Travel Award, Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, (2015)
  • Travel Award, American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair (2014)
  • Full scholarship to the Practical Workshop in Confocal Microscopy and Stereology, NeuroRenew, Inc. and MBF Bioscience, Inc. (August 2014)


  • Fischer DL, Gombash SE, Kemp CJ, Manfredsson FP, Polinski NK, Duffy MF and Sortwell CE. “Gene Therapy-Based Modeling of Neurodegenerative Disorders: Parkinson’s disease.” Chapter in Gene Therapy for Neurological Disorders, edited by Manfredsson FP, Springer Protocols (accepted)

Posters and Presentations

  • MF Duffy, KL Paumier, KC Luk, DL Fischer, NK Polinski, TJ Collier, CJ Kemp, JQ Trojanowski, VM Lee, CE Sortwell. “Neuroinflammatory profile associated with intrastriatal injection of preformed alpha-synuclein fibrils in a new rat model of Parkinson’s disease.” Society for Neuroscience (SfN), Chicago, IL, 2015 (Poster).
  • CJ Kemp, TJ Collier, JW Lipton, AC Strauss, FP Manfredsson, NM Kanaan, MF Duffy, NM Marckini, CE Sortwell. “Generation and characterization of a brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF rs6265 knock-in rat.” Society for Neuroscience (SfN), Chicago, IL, 2015 (Poster).
  • DL Fischer, FP Manfredsson, CJ Kemp, MF Duffy, NK Polinski, K Steece-Collier, TJ Collier, SE Gombash, DJ Buhlinger, CE Sortwell. “The neuroprotective potential of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in an α-synuclein overexpression rat model of Parkinson's disease.” The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society’s 19th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, San Diego, CA, 2015 (Poster)
  • DL Fischer, FP Manfredsson, CJ Kemp, MF Duffy, NK Polinski, K Steece-Collier, TJ Collier, SE Gombash, DJ Buhlinger and CE Sortwell. “Neuroprotective potential of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in a viral vector-mediated nigrostriatal alpha-synuclein overexpression model.” American Society for Neural Therapy and Repair (ASNTR) Annual Meeting, Clearwater, FL, 2015 (Poster).
  • DL Fischer, CJ Kemp, MF Duffy, TJ Collier, FP Manfredsson and CE Sortwell. “The Neuroprotective Potential of Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation in an α-Synuclein Overexpression Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease.” American Physician-Scientist Association (APSA) Annual Meeting, jointly held with the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians (ASCI/AAP), Chicago, IL, 2015 (Poster).
  • Duffy M, MacKeigan J, Manfredsson F, Gombash Lampe S, Kuhn N, Kemp CJ, Sortwell CE. Attenuation of Alpha-Synuclein-Induced Neuroinflammation and Microgliosis via Rho-Kinase Inhibition: A Possible Mechanism Behind Fasudil-Mediated Neuroprotection. (Poster)