Balvindar Singh

Ph.D. 2019

Member of MSTP (MD/PhD) program

E-MAIL: [email protected]

Thesis Title:

Investigating the Mechanisms Underlying Synaptic and Cognitive Deficits in Alpha-Synucleinopathies

Current Position:

Resident in the Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Undergraduate Instutition and Major:

University of California, San Diego. Microbiology. 2011

Graduate Advisor:

Michael Lee, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Description of Graduate Research:

Parkinson’s disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disease, is characterized by intracellular inclusions called Lewy bodies, and loss of selective brain regions at the neuronal level, resulting in overt motor abnormalities at the clinical level. However, the neuropathology observed in PD extends beyond these selective regions implicated as the source these motor deficits, and thus a majority of PD patients develop other symptoms such as dementia. To that end, understanding the mechanism by which α-synulcein, a major component of Lewy bodies and protein mutated in genetic versions of PD, contributes to cognitive deficits will enhance our knowledge of the disease process and identify new targets for therapeutic intervention.

Graduate Publication(s):

  • Vermilyea SC, Christensen A, Meints J, Singh B, Martell-Martínez H, Karim MR, Lee MK. Loss of tau expression attenuates neurodegeneration associated with α-synucleinopathy. Transl Neurodegener. 2022 Jul 1;11(1):34.
  • Singh B, Covelo A,  Martell-Martínez H, Nanclares C, Sherman MA, Okematti E, Meints J, Teravskis PJ, Gallardo C, Savonenko AV, Benneyworth MA, Lesné SE, Liao D, Araque A, Lee MK. Tau is required for progressive synaptic and memory deficits in a transgenic mouse model of α-synucleinopathy. Acta Neuropathol. 2019;138(4):551-574.
  • Teravskis PJ, Covelo A, Miller EC, Singh B, Martell-Martínez HA, Benneyworth MA, Gallardo C, Oxnard BR, Araque A, Lee MK, Liao D. A53T mutant alpha-synuclein induces tau dependent postsynaptic impairment independent of neurodegenerative changes. J Neurosci. 2018;38:9754-9767.

Graduate Level Abstracts:

  • Singh B, Covelo A, Teravskis P, Benneyworth M, Martinez HM, Liao D, Araque A, Lee MK. Pathological role of tau in alpha-synuclein dependent synaptic and memory deficits. Keystone Symposia. June 2018

Graduate Level Awards:

  • Roth-Steer Award for Research in Alzheimer's Disease. May 2018.

GPN Committees:

  • Student Board First Year Representative 2014-2015

Thesis Committee Members:

Research Categories:

  • Neurodegenerative Diseases & Neural Injury
  • Synaptic Plasticity & Learning
  • Regenerative Medicine for Neural Systems


  • Ann Parr M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurosurgery
  • Karen Ashe M.D., Ph.D., Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience
  • Mark Masino Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Why Did You Choose MN?

The MD/PhD program at the U of MN is strong. There are many good clinical opportunities and medical and graduate training. During the interview process, students seemed happy and cohesive, and the faculty seemed involved and invested.

Balvindar Singh