Dr Benjamin Falcon


University position

Group Leader

Dr Benjamin Falcon is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Departments

Neurobiology Division

Institutes

Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Email

bfalcon@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk

Home page

https://www2.mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk/group-l... (personal home page)

Research Theme

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Interests

Ordered assembly of a small number of proteins into amyloid structures within neurons and, in some cases, glia underlies neurodegenerative disease. We work to understand the molecular basis of amyloid assembly in neurodegenerative disease. Key questions that interest us are: How do assemblies form and propagate? How does this contribute to nerve cell degeneration? Why are only some cell populations in the brain vulnerable? Why does selective vulnerability differ between diseases?

We combine structural and cell biology, using high-resolution electron microscopy with patient samples and advanced cellular and in vivo models of assembly. Electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) of assembled tau filaments from human brains revealed disease-specfic structures containing unique protein folds, as well as non-proteinaceous components. We are now studying how these structures relate to selective cell vulnerability by focusing on the molecular interactions between assemblies and brain cells.

Research Focus

Keywords

neurodegeneration

amyloid

cryo-EM

selective vulnerability

Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

chronic traumatic encephalopathy

Dementia

Traumatic brain injury

Equipment

Cell culture

Confocal microscopy

Electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM)

Fluorescence microscopy

Immunogold-electron microscopy

Protein purification

Collaborators

No collaborators listed

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