Joy earned her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Neuroscience, where she developed her laboratory skills in fruit fly eye development. Her research experiences as an undergraduate led her to pursue a PhD in Neurosciences at Stanford. There, Joy studied how neurons find their correct partners using the fruit fly olfactory system. After her PhD, she started her work at Genentech, where she is currently focused on discovering drug targets for Parkinson’s Disease.

Joy Tea, PhD


How do scientists use molecular interventions to treat disease? Parkinson's Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting about a million people in the United States. There is currently no cure. In order to treat disease, scientists first need to understand normal cellular processes. Then they figure out which of these have gone wrong in the disease. Molecular processes in the cell are controlled by macromolecules that act together in "molecular pathways" to do the work of the cell and keep the body healthy. When there is disease, scientists can figure out which macromolecules and pathways are not functioning properly. Then any players in the pathway can become what's called a "drug target". My job is to identify drug targets for Parkinson's. I will discuss the basic biology and rationale for our approach. I will focus on one potential target in detail, called USP30, and its role in the cell that makes it an interesting candidate.