Brain Development & Regeneration
Our group is interested in the self-defence mechanisms that operate in the brain when something goes wrong. This may take the form of degenerative disease (Parkinson's, Alzheimer's) or cancer (brain tumours) due to gene mutations and ageing. As a result, mutant or toxic proteins accumulate in brain cells, causing them to degenerate or proliferate. We have been working with one system of self-defence called protein ubiquitination which allows harmful proteins in brain cells to be removed and in the process, halt or reverse the disease process. We are particularly interested in finding how to accelerate beneficial ubiquitination in neurones using the Nedd4/Ndfip1 proteins. Our studies so far demonstrate that these proteins can halt cell death following injury and stroke, and slow down the division of brain cancer cells.