University of Dundee

Neurodegeneration

 

Carol MacKintosh

A signalling network linking diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

Nobody understands why people with diabetes have a much higher-than-normal risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. We were therefore intrigued to discover that insulin in the bloodstream sends a signal into the brain, which triggers rapid dephosphorylation of a large interconnected network of brain proteins including protein kinases, cytoskeletal regulators, and tau, which is infamous for forming ‘tangles’ in Alzheimer’s brains. We are investigating the nature of the signal sent by insulin into the brain, characterizing how the observed regulations affect neuronal cell morphology and metabolism, and whether genetic variants affecting these proteins are overrepresented in Alzheimer’s patients. We aim to provide a solid logic for devising common prevention and treatment strategies for diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Miratul Muqit

Parkinson’s and PINK1

Miratul Muqit is a Clinician Scientist whose laboratory addresses the mechanistic basis of Parkinson's disease. In particular his lab has made advances on how mutations in the PINK1 kinase gene lead to Parkinson's. This has revealed that PINK1 phosphorylates another Parkinson's gene Parkin and also ubiquitin and these events drive mitochondrial quality control. His work has identified new strategies to target Parkinson's for therapeutics.