Laurie Eckert

Mentor: Jonathan A. Doorn, PhD

Year Entered Into Program: 2007

PhD Institution: University of Iowa, 2012


  • Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry

Research Description

The precise role of glia (e.g. microglia) in Parkinson’s disease-related neuronal death is currently unknown but is hypothesized to be significant based on previous studies. The Doorn lab is interested in determining the role of the endogenous neurotoxin, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL), in Parkinson’s disease. Glial cells have been shown to metabolize dopamine, but the amount of DOPAL they produce via MAO oxidative deamination of dopamine is unknown, along with further metabolism of DOPAL via ALDH. My research involves investigation into the toxicity and metabolism of these dopamine metabolites via glia and activation of these cells (i.e. microglia) by such toxic intermediates.


  • NIH T32 Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant, 2008-2010
  • Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students Travel Award, 2009
  • Graduate Student Senate Travel Award, 2009
  • Winner, Poster Merit Award, Graduate Student Poster Session, Carver College of Medicine Research Week, 2009
  • Poster Merit Award, Univ of Iowa, 10th Annual Stud Interdiscioplinary Hlth Res Poster Session, 2009
  • Finalist, Collegian Innovation 7 Leadership, Iowa Women of Innovation, 2009
  • 1st place, oral presentation, Biological and Health Sciences Category, 12th Annual James F. Jakobsen Graduate Conference, March 2010
  • 1st place, oral presentation, Biological and Health Sciences Category, 12th Annual James F. Jakobsen Graduate Conference, March 2011
  • Center on Aging Poster Merit Award, 11th Annual Stud Interdisciplinary Hlth Res Poster Session, Univ of Iowa, 2010
  • Recipient, AFPE Predoctoral Fellowship (2011-2012)
  • Usha Balakrishnan Prize for Best Poster, 2010
  • Graduate Student Senate Travel Award, 2010


  1. Rees, J.N., Florang, V.R., Eckert, L.L., and Doorn, J.A.:  Protein reactivity of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde, a toxic dopamine metabolite, is dependent on both the aldehyde and the catechol. Chem Res Toxicol, 22, 1256-1263, 2009.  PMCID: PMC2717024
  2. Jinsmaa, Y., Florang, V.R., Rees, J.N., Mexas, L.M., Eckert, L.L., Allen, E.M., Anderson, D.G., Doorn, J.A.: Dopamine-derived biological reactive intermediates and protein modifications: Implications for Parkinson's disease. Chem Biol Interact 192(1-2):118-21, 2011.  PMCID: PMC3109112
  3. Allen, E.M., Florang, V.R., Davenport, L.L., Jinsmaa, Y., Doorn, J.A.:  Cellular localization of dieldrin and structure-activity relationship of dieldrin analogues in dopaminergic cells. Chem Res Toxicol 26(7):1043-54, 2013.  PMCID: PMC4327868