News

Life may be dominated by COVID-19, but we are still pleased to see that our protocol for utilizing human peripheral blood neutrophils for research into the Parkinson’s disease associated LRRK2 kinase has been published. Activating mutations in the LRRK2 kinase cause 1-4% of all Parkinson’s disease syndromes worldwide and new targeted therapies such LRRK2 kinase inhibitors aiming at disease modification rather than symptom control are currently being investigated in clinical trials. …more

New research by Greg Findlay’s group in the MRC-PPU has identified a signalling system that controls embryonic stem cell development, which has implications for understanding how tissues form within the mammalian embryo. The paper, by Rosalia Fernandez-Alonso and Francisco Bustos, post-doctoral investigators in Greg’s lab, uncovers a new role for the EPH-Ephrin system in regulating stem cell differentiation. They also identify a molecular switch within the EPH-Ephrin system that distinguishes stem cells from differentiated cells, enabling them to be sorted into distinct populations, a key initiating event in tissue formation.

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Miratul Muqit has been elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland’s National Academy. The 2020 intake of Fellows join the current roll of 1600 and are elected from a wide range of disciplines including physical and life sciences, arts, industry, and public life. Election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh recognises both excellence and impact in research.

 

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A pioneering collaboration between the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) and the Medical Research Council’s Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) will use the very latest advances in technology to study rare cell populations and the role of proteins in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

 

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Greg Findlay and Francisco Bustos, a postdoctoral researcher in Greg’s group, were recently awarded a £20,000 Tenovus Scotland Research Grant to engineer an RNF12 E3 ligase substrate degrader as a therapeutic strategy in Tonne-Kalscheuer Syndrome (TOKAS) intellectual disability.

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Professor Ian Shanks FRS and his daughter Dr Emma Shanks visited the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) on January 23rd to hear about the research being undertaken. Ian Shanks is a pioneer of liquid crystal display (LCD) and adapted this to develop the first digital blood glucose sensor in the 1980s, which has transformed the management of diabetes and benefited millions of patients worldwide.

 

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Funding success for Esther Sammler to explore the connection between the gut and Parkinson’s disease (PD) in man and mice. A connection between the gut and PD has long been recognized: constipation is a common non-motor symptom that often predates the emergence of motor problems and PD diagnosis by decades. The vagal nerve represents a direct connection between the brain stem and the intestinal tract and lends support to the Braak theory that PD might originate in the gut rather than the brain. …more

Moira Cardosi, Barbara Lynch and Liz Haughey visited the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit to meet with Director Professor Dario Alessi and other members of the team to hear about our exciting research into Parkinson’s disease. They also presented us with a cheque in excess of £3,000 – funds that Moira Cardosi had raised during the 2019 Kiltwalk in memory of Mrs Lynch’s late husband who had suffered from the condition. During a tour of the MRC PPU laboratory our visitors also gained a first-hand impression of our work and why we believe that better understanding the causes of Parkinson’s disease will eventually lead to finding a cure.

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Emeritus Professor Pierre Descouts (Universite de Geneve) and his wife Christine visited the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit to meet with Dario Alessi, Miratul Muqit, Ian Ganley and Esther Sammler to hear about their exciting research into the causes of Parkinson’s and to go on a tour of the laboratory. The couple knows first-hand what it means to live with the condition and had decided to make a donation of £10,000 towards the research programme of Esther Sammler who also works as an honorary consultant neurologist for NHS Tayside. …more

MRC PPU researcher receives Brian Cox Prize for Public Engagement

 

Miratul Muqit who is a Wellcome Trust Clinician Scientist and Programme Leader in the MRC-PPU has been awarded the 2019 Brian Cox Prize for Excellence in Public Engagement in the “engaged researcher” category. The award was given in recognition of his public engagement project entitled “Misprints” in collaboration with artist Daksha Patel

 

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