Scientists at Essex have secured £84,000 of funding from the Parkinson’s Disease Society for a three-year research project.
Led by Dr Jody Mason and Dr Neil Kad, from the Department of Biological Sciences, the project will investigate a particular brain protein which is defective in people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.
The protein – alpha-synuclein – does not fold into its correct shape, causing toxicity, with the knock-on effect of healthy cells in the brain dying. The research will involve trying to stop the toxicity which causes the healthy cells to die. The researchers will investigate either stopping the defective protein misfolding using inhibitors or stopping the toxicity process after the protein has misfolded.
The protein is one of several proteins being investigated as part of research into Parkinson’s disease.
This research project will go alongside work already being carried out by Dr Mason and Dr Kad into creating inhibitors for other age-related diseases.
Speaking about the project, Dr Mason said: “This research will provide a synergistic approach by using a novel technique to develop inhibitors in my group while analysing their mechanism of action using cutting edge imaging technology being developed in Dr Kad’s laboratory.”