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Cambridge Neuroscientist informs the public and policy

Cambridge Neuroscientist Professor Chris Dobson (left) delivered a well received public lecture at the Royal Society of Chemistry on the 4th February, 2010 in the Chemistry Centre, Burlington House, at The Royal Society for Chemistry, London. 

As a result Chris's research was subsequently highlighted in a Parliamentary debate discussing the UK’s Dementia Strategy at Westminster Hall on the 16th March, 2010. Chris's work was mentioned as an exemplifier for the requirement to continue to fund basic research.

Chris and his research team are based at the Department of Chemistry, Cambridge, where they investigate the origins of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, that are characterised neuropathologically by the presence of amyloid fibrils. Over 50 PhD students and post doctorial scientists work in his research team aiming to increase understanding on the fundamental molecular origins of protein aggregation into amyloid and the relationship between this process and the how such neurodegenerative diseases develop. The team adopt a multidisciplinary approach: combining in vitro biophysics, computational modelling, behavioural analysis, high resolution microscopy and a Drosophila (fruit fly) model of Alzheimer’s Disease to understand in more detail the relationship between protein misfolding and pathogenesis. It was this research that he introduced during his public lecture at the Royal Society for Chemistry.

As a result of the public lecture at the Royal Society for Chemistry, Chris's work was subsequently mentioned in the House of Commons. Mr. Paul Burstow (Sutton and Cheam, Liberal Democrats) introduced Professor Chris Dobson's research during the parliamentary debate commenting:

"Recently, after the publication of "Dementia 2010", I was invited by the Royal Society of Chemistry to chair one of its public lectures, by Professor Chris Dobson, who is master of St. John's college and from the department of chemistry. He lectured on some of the extraordinary work done by him and his team of young graduates on the disease mechanism behind dementia and the role of proteins in the body. It is a potential key not only to unlocking our understanding of the disease, but to identifying treatments for dementia that arrest its progression and might even cure it. The team also established a link to other neurological conditions in our understanding of dementia. That research is being done in this country. We need more such research and the ambition to fund not just a cure, but the discoveries necessary to build bridges to it."

Professor Dobson is also part of a recently announced (November, 2009) £17 million Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust award supporting three new multi-disciplinary research programmes focusing on devastating neurodegenerative diseases – Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and motor neurone disease. The program, with Cambridge Neuroscientist Professor Peter St George Hyslop as Principal Investigator, combines experts from Cambridge, the Max Planck Centre for Structural and Molecular Biology in Hamburg, and the University of Toronto to investigate some of the fundamental events surrounding the aggregation of neurotoxic proteins such as tau and Abeta. It is hoped that the project will give rise to a better understanding of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative disorders, and this in turn may form the basis of future attempts to design diagnostic biomarkers/biomarker profiles and provide targets for novel therapeutics. For further information on this particular project please click here.

To access the Royal Society of Chemistry write up of Chris's public lecture and video clipping, in addition to local news links to the lecture please click here

To access the Hansard mentioning Chris's research please click here.

Article written by Dr. Hannah Critchlow, Cambridge Neuroscience Coordinator.


Posted on 19/04/2010

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