Contact Information


Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1996–98
M.Sc., Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1993–95
B.A., Biopsychology, Barnard College, 1988–92

Research Interests

Research in the Leak laboratory focuses on the causes and consequences of Lewy body disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. We model Lewy body disorders in mice and rats in vivo and in primary neuron and glial cell cultures in vitro. We test promising therapies in these preclinical models, and we also assess human brain tissue for markers of disease. The central questions that the Leak lab seeks to answer are:

  1. Can the spread of Lewy pathology through the brain be halted or decelerated with interventions?
  2. Do stress-inducible, intrinsic defense systems naturally slow the progression of Lewy body disorders?
  3. How does Lewy pathology work its way through the brain?

You can link to our published research here:


Below are links to one podcast interview, three invited papers, and one video presentation:

  1. Interview with Dr. Mark Mattson on the adaptive stress response:
  2. On alpha-synuclein as a prion-like particle:
  3. On developing tolerance against the pathology of Parkinson's disease:
  4. On leveraging heat shock proteins as therapies:
  5. On glial stress tolerance:

Patients with neurological disorders and their caregivers are welcome to visit the Leak laboratory. Please email leakrFREEDUQUESNE or call (412) 396-4734 to set up a visit, or if you cannot access publications at the links above.


Profile Information

PHBM 355: Human Physiology and Pathology I

PHBM 356: Human Physiology and Pathology II (Coursemaster)

GPSC 576: Neuronal Pharmacology and General Toxicological Principles (Coursemaster)

GPSC 695: Oral and Written Presentation Skills in Pharmacology (Coursemaster)

GPSC 572: Methods of Evaluation of Drug Action and Toxicity

Select grants awarded to RK Leak (as principal investigator) since joining Duquesne

  1. NIH grant 1R15NS130532-01 on neuronal myelination and resilience in Lewy body disorders (Leak PI) 2022-2025
  2. NIH grant R21AG068608 on cytoskeletal stabilization in Lewy body disorders (Leak & Gangjee multi-PIs) 2020-2023
    [Stopped being principal investigator on this award, to be able to accept the R15 above, per NIH guidelines]
  3. NIH grant R21NS112671 on DNA repair in limbic-predominant Lewy body disorders (Leak PI) 2020-2022
  4. Leach Fund grant on the impact of tricyclic heterocycles on Parkinson’s pathology (Leak & Gangjee Co-PIs) 2019-2021
  5. Winters Foundation grant on bicyclic microtubule effectors in Lewy body disorders (Leak & Gangjee Co-PIs) 2019-2020
  6. NIH grant 1R21NS107960-01 on the impact of Hsp70 in Lewy body disorders (Leak PI) 2018-2020
  7. NIH grant 1R15NS093539-01 on N-acetyl cysteine-mediated neuroprotection against synucleinopathy (Leak PI) 2015-2019
  8. NIH grant 1R03NS088395-01A1 on N-acetyl cysteine-mediated protection against proteasome inhibition (Leak PI) 2015
  9. Hillman Family Foundation grant 940562 (Leak PI) 2014-2016
  10. Michael J. Fox Foundation Rapid Response Innovation Award (Leak PI) 2013-2014
  11. Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Award (Leak PI) 2013-2014
  12. Faculty Development Fund grant (Leak PI) 2011-2013
  13. Hunkele Dreaded Diseases Foundation grant (Leak PI) 2010-2012
  14. Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Foundation grant (Leak PI) 2010-2011
Select honors / awards since joining Duquesne
  1. John Rangos Sr. Prize for the 2023 Pitch Competition for pedagogical work:
  2. NIH ad hoc grant reviewer for P50 Udall Centers for Excellence in Parkinson’s Research 2023
  3. NIH ad hoc grant reviewer for CNN study section 2022
  4. NIH ad hoc grant reviewer for NOMD study section 2016/2020/2021
  5. School of Pharmacy Faculty Award 2020
  6. Publons Award (top 1% of all reviewers in neuroscience and behavior journals) 2019
  7. Member of editorial board for the Springer journal Acta Neuropathologica 2019-2021
  8. Publons Award (top 1% of all reviewers in neuroscience and behavior journals) 2018
  9. President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship (Duquesne University) 2018
  10. Publons Award (top 1% of all reviewers for multidisciplinary journals) 2017
  11. Inducted into Duquesne University Research Hall of Fame 2016
  12. Member of editorial board for Neurochemistry International 2014-
  13. Outstanding New Investigator Award, Dose-Response Society 2014
  14. Mylan School of Pharmacy Faculty Award 2013
  15. Voted Professor of the Year by the PY1 Duquesne Pharmacy students 2012

Link to Rehana Leak's Publications via PubMed

Link to Rehana Leak's Publications at Google Scholar

Link to Rehana Leak's Publications via ORCID