Neuropathology and Neurodegeneration Laboratory
Understanding the molecular basis of Alzheimer’s disease is the main focus of this laboratory. We aim to identify the specific conformer of the Aβ amyloid peptide which accumulates in Alzheimer’s disease brain. In both familial early onset Alzheimer’s disease (in which Aβ is over-produced) and in late onset sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (in which Aβ is poorly cleared from the brain), the same underlying process causes the synapses in the brain to degenerate. Based on this knowledge, we are able to seek biomarkers in the CSF and blood and to discover suitable lead compounds which can target the Aβ oligomer itself.
Scientists in the Neurodegeneration division interrogate how neurones live, die and can be rescued to improve brain function in degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Diseases. There is no effective treatment for Motor Neurone Disease and the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease is rising alarmingly in our aging community. Gene abnormalities, energy deprivation, toxic rubbish accumulation and inflammation all contribute to a toxic environment for brain cells. Our teams study these events in animal models and cultured cells, with a view to translating knowledge into new therapies for human patients.