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About Dr Melisa Baptista

Melisa recently joined Chester Medical School as a Senior Lecturer in Genetics and Molecular Biology. After completing her PhD at Imperial College, Melisa took a research associate position at the Mayo Clinic, USA where she began her post-doctoral career studying the complex genetics of Parkinson’s Disease. She was then recruited to the National Institute of Health, USA where she continued her research studying gene expression in cellular models of Parkinson’s Disease. Upon returning to the UK, Melisa was awarded a Wellcome Trust Post-Doctoral fellowship at the University of Sheffield Medical School. Prior to joining Chester Medical School Melisa worked as a lecturer in Health and Social Care.


Melisa teaches on various undergraduate and postgraduate modules in areas related to genetics and molecular biology. 


Melisa’s research interests concern the study of multifactorial neurological diseases. She works to identify pathogenic mutations and characterise their aberrant functionality in a disease state.

Published Work

Mutant SOD1 alters the motor neuronal transcriptome: implications for familial ALS. Kirby J, Halligan E, Baptista MJ, et al. Brain 2005, 128:1686-1706.

Parkin and alpha-synuclein: opponent actions in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease.  Baptista MJ, Miller DW, Cookson MR. Neuroscientist 2004, 63-72.

The Parkinson's disease protein DJ-1 is neuroprotective due to cysteine-sulfinic acid-driven mitochondrial localization. Canet-Avilés RM, Wilson MA, Miller DW, Ahmad R, McLendon C, Bandyopadhyay S, Baptista MJ, Ringe D, Petsko GA, Cookson MR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jun 15;101(24):9103-8.

Alpha-synuclein in blood and brain from familial Parkinson disease ith SNCA locus triplication. Miller DW, Hague SM, Clarimon J, Baptista MJ, Gwinn-Hardy K, Cookson MR, Singleton AB. Neurology. 2004 May 25;62(10):1835-8.

Dominant torsinA mutations in cellular systems. Baptista MJ, O’Farrell CA, Cookson MR. Adv. Neurol 2004, 94:73-78.

Alpha-Synuclein locus triplication causes Parkinson's disease. Singleton AB, Farrer M, Johnson J, Singleton A, Hague S, Kachergus J, Hulihan M, Peuralinna T, Dutra A, Nussbaum R, Lincoln S, Crawley A, Hanson M, Maraganore D, Adler C, Cookson MR, Muenter M, Baptista M, Miller D, Blancato J, Hardy J, Gwinn-Hardy K. Science. 2003 Oct 31;302(5646):841.

Co-ordinate transcriptional regulation of dopamine synthesis genes by alpha-synuclein in human neuroblastoma cell lines. Baptista MJ, O’Farrell C, Daya S, et al. J. Neurochem 2003, 85(4): 95

L166P mutant DJ-1, causative for recessive Parkinson's disease, is degraded through the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Miller DW, Ahmad R, Hague S, Baptista MJ, Canet-Aviles R, McLendon C, Carter DM, Zhu PP, Stadler J, Chandran J, Klinefelter GR, Blackstone C, Cookson MR. J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 19;278(38):36588-95.

Microarray analysis reveals induction of heat shock proteins mRNAs by the torsion dystonia protein, TorsinA. Baptista MJ, O'Farrell C, Hardy J, Cookson MR. Neurosci Lett. 2003 May 29;343(1):5-8.

Parkin protects against the toxicity associated with mutant alpha-synuclein: proteasome dysfunction selectively affects catecholaminergic neurons. Petrucelli L, O'Farrell C, Lockhart PJ, Baptista M, Kehoe K, Vink L, Choi P, Wolozin B, Farrer M, Hardy J, Cookson MR. Neuron. 2002 Dec 19;36(6):1007-19.

An in vitro model of Parkinson's disease: linking mitochondrial impairment to altered alpha-synuclein metabolism and oxidative damage. Sherer TB, Betarbet R, Stout AK, Lund S, Baptista M, Panov AV, Cookson MR, Greenamyre JT. J Neurosci. 2002 Aug 15;22(16):7006-15.

Heterotrisomy, a significant contributing factor to ventricular septal defect associated with Down syndrome? Baptista MJ, Fairbrother UL, Howard CM, Farrer MJ, Davies GE, et al. Hum Genet 2000, 107(5):476-82



BSc (CombHons) Genetics & Microbiology Leeds University

MSc Human Molecular Genetics, Imperial College, London

PhD Human Molecular Genetics, Imperial College, London

PGCE Science, Sheffield Hallam University