Scientists from the University of Plymouth have received three grants to continue their work exploring the molecular mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The funding, totalling near £15,000, has come from the Alzheimer’s Research UK South West Network Centre and the Northcott Devon Medical Foundation.
PhD student James Conway will use the Northcott Foundation funding to explore the role of a family of proteins called NEDD4, and whether it can help to stop brain cell damage in Parkinson’s by reducing accumulation of a protein called α-Synuclein.
James also received a grant from Alzheimer’s Research UK, and will use this to focus on exploring the interactions of NEDD4 with proteins present in Alzheimer’s, and whether it has any effect.
Technician and researcher Michele Kiernan will use her grant from Alzheimer’s Research UK to explore both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – particularly the build-up of a protein called Tau.
She will look at how two proteins called Parkin and Pink1 – mutations in their genes can cause early-onset Parkinson’s – interact with Tau in cell cultures. From there, she can also assess the protective effect of Parkin and Pink1 against Tau build-up.