From gene to function: hunting for new treatment targets across Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.
Professor Julie Williams and colleagues at Cardiff University have discovered over 27 risk genes for dementia which implicate the innate immune response in determining a person’s susceptibility to developing Alzheimer’s disease. Building on their world-class expertise in genetics and immunology, the UK DRI at Cardiff University uses these discoveries as the starting point for understanding disease mechanisms and producing new therapies.
The team uses cellular and animal models to understand the function of risk genes implicated in two major areas of immunity: microglia cells and the complement system. They study the involvement of complement proteins in the loss of synapses and cell death in Alzheimer’s disease and describe how Alzheimer’s risk genes affect the production and activation of microglia in the brain.
An additional programme of work develops novel mathematical approaches to the study of dementia that will be shared with by all members of the UK DRI. This work is developing models for stratifying dementia risk and statistical tools for identifying patterns in large biological ‘omics’ data sets.
UK DRI at Cardiff University is located in the Hadyn Ellis building on the Innovation campus, with access to state of the art facilities within the Cardiff University Dementia Research Network.
Applications are open for an MRC BioMedDTP GW4 funded PhD Studentship for the project titled, "Exploiting lipid binding proteins to tackle neurological disorders" in Professor Michael Schrader's lab at Exeter, co-supervised by Dr Gaynor Smith, UK DRI at Cardiff. This multi-disciplinary project combines cutting-edge molecular cell biology, neurobiological, and biochemical (lipid analysis) approaches to reveal novel links between organelle membrane proteins, lipid metabolism, and neurodegenerative disorders. It will unveil new biomedical principles, the functions of novel lipid-binding proteins, and new avenues for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. Application deadline: 2 November 2022.Download project details Apply here
Applications are open for an MRC BioMedDTP GW4 funded PhD Studentship for the project titled, "Does microplastic exposure cause immune dysfunction and impact our health?." in Dr Helen Weavers' lab at Bristol, co-supervised by Dr Owen Peters, UK DRI at Cardiff. Humans are estimated to consume millions of microplastics (MPs) each year, but exactly how MPs impact our health is alarmingly unclear. In this project, we will identify the molecular consequences of MP uptake on cells and tissues, and explore whether prolonged MP exposure even weakens immunity. We will integrate in vivo animal models with in vitro analyses of human cells and state-of-the-art imaging, and engage with chemists to test novel bioplastic alternatives. Application deadline: 2 November 2022.Download project details Apply here
The UK DRI at Cardiff is delighted to offer an MRC BioMedDTP GW4 funded PhD Studentship for the project titled, "The Contribution of Mitochondrial Dysfunction to Alzheimer's disease" in Dr Gaynor Smith's lab. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with increased oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain. The Redox system that helps detoxify neurons is decreased in AD patients and likely contributes to symptoms and neurodegeneration. The PhD student will manipulate Redox and mitochondrial regulating genes in Drosophila and iPSC neuron models of AD to find new potential therapeutic targets. Application deadline: 2 November 2022.Download project details Apply here
The UK DRI at Cardiff is delighted to offer an MRC BioMedDTP GW4 funded PhD Studentship for the project titled, "Epigenetic regulation of microglial gene expression in Alzheimer’s disease." in Dr Owen Peters' lab. Neuroinflammation is a prominent event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis driven by activation of microglia, the brains resident immune cells. To define how microglial gene expression is regulated in AD, this project utilises a state-of-the-art human induced pluripotent stem cell models of AD coupled with epigenomic profiling and bioinformatic analysis. The role of prioritised genes will then be described through functional assays of key microglial processes. Application deadline: 2 November 2022.Download project details Apply here