Department Chair

M. Scott Goodman, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Forensic Science, M.S.


Chemistry Department


Joonyeong Kim, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry

Department Home page

First Reader

Satpal Singh, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, State University of New York at Buffalo

Second Reader

M. Scott Goodman, Ph.D., Chair and Associate Professor of Chemistry

Third Reader

Amy McMillan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology


Mutation of the levy gene on chromosome 2 of Drosophila melanogaster has previously been shown to cause temperature-induced paralysis and neurodegeneration. The Suppressor of levy mutation, Su(levy), also on chromosome 2, modulates the effects of the levy mutation and partly rescues the wild-type phenotype. The goal of this research was to determine if Su(levy) mutation alleviates the effects of neurodegeneration caused by mutations associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in humans. The mutant genes used were hLRRK2, α-Synuclein, DJ1-α, Pink, Parkin, and Aβ-42. To determine this, flies carrying the above-mentioned mutant genes were crossed with flies carrying Su(levy) to produce progeny carrying both mutations. The lifespan and locomotor abilities of these progeny were then tested and compared to control and mutant flies. The flies were also tested for their response to environmental toxins introduced to their diet. Our results show that in many cases the Suppressor of levy mutation plays a considerable role in alleviating neurodegenerative symptoms in Drosophila. Flies carrying Su(levy) show a significant improvement in lifespan, climbing ability, resistance to paralysis, and resistance to environmental toxins.