Maxime Rousseaux
Principal Investigator

A native of Canada, Maxime has always been fascinated by the immense complexity of the brain and what happens when this fine-tuned machine stops functioning. He completed his B.Sc. in Biochemistry (Hons.) in 2007 and pursued his Doctoral studies in the lab of David S. Park at the University of Ottawa (2007-2012). Dr. Rousseaux’s doctoral training focused on elucidating mechanisms of neurodegeneration in models of PD and stroke. His thesis work identified a novel pathway through which the PD gene DJ1 protects the brain against neurodegeneration: the AKT-NRF2 signalling axis. (Aleyasin, Rousseaux, et al, PNAS, 2007; Aleyasin*, Rousseaux* et al, PNAS, 2010). He further developed and characterized the first mouse model of PD that exhibits early and robust Parkinsonian features (Rousseaux et al, PNAS, 2012). Given the lack of animal models to test novel treatments for PD, this discovery represents a major advance to the field.

In 2012, Max joined the laboratory of Dr. Huda Zoghbi, an international leader in the fields of genomics and neurodegenerative disease at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute/BCM. There, he established a PD-centered research program that employed genetic screening methods to query the genome for modifiers of toxic protein levels and toxicity (Rousseaux et al, eLife, 2016; Lasagna-Reeves et al, Neuron, 2016; Rousseaux*, Vazquez-Velez* et al, J Neurosci, 2018; Rousseaux*, Tschumperlin*, Lu* et al, Neuron; Rousseaux et al, eLife, 2018). Importantly, this has shed light onto new pathways for therapeutic intervention in diseases such as PD and Alzheimer’s disease.

Max is a strong supporter for scientific outreach and literacy. He serves on the judging committee for the Junior Breakthrough Prize and remains actively involved in local outreach efforts. In his spare time, Maxime enjoys running, cycling, hiking and reading.