Latest News for 09/2021
04 Jun 2020
The van Aalten lab has been awarded ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award to run an innovative project focused on the role of science, lifestyle and one’s social circle in managing neurodegenerative diseases (NDs). The Care to Share project aims to equip participants with practical strategies and networks important in dealing with NDs. The Care to Share project will utilise games to:
28 Apr 2020
Researchers in the School have discovered a new neurodevelopmental disease caused by genetic mutations and helped explain why patients with these mutations suffer this condition. Around 1% of the global population are affected by intellectual disability, a condition characterised by significant limitations in both intellectual function and in adaptive behaviour. It was known that a molecule called GlcNAc was found on proteins related to intellectual disability, but its exact role in this disease remained unclear.
07 Nov 2019
A University of Dundee discovery has the potential to help scientists better understand neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Researchers, led by Professor Daan van Aalten in the School, have developed a new way to tag proteins in human cells with a small sugar molecule called O-GlcNAc. There are over 20,000 proteins in every human cell and approximately 20% of these contain O-GlcNAc. The exact role played by O-GlcNAc remains a mystery but the molecule is found on proteins related to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and intellectual disability.
11 Oct 2018
Three of our undergraduate students were recognised in the Undergraduate Awards 2018. Emma Sands, Emily Scott and Daniel Squair were Highly Commended in the Life Sciences category. This means that they were in the top 10% for their category and this included entrants from students across the world! The awards aim to celebrate top undergraduate coursework and foster interdisciplinary collaboration between students and recent graduates worldwide. Our students submitted work based on their fourth year honours project.
12 Apr 2018
Dr Virdee and colleagues in the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) have discovered a novel class of E3 ligase. The E3 ligase, MYCBP2, operates in a unique way, selectively transferring ubiquitin to non-lysine amino acids with selectivity for threonine. The ubiquitin is linked to the threonine amino acid via a chemically distinct ester linkage thereby uncovering an unanticipated area of cellular biology. The findings are published in Nature.
02 Apr 2018
Scientists in the School have identified the effects of a mutation that gives rise to a form of Intellectual Disability. Intellectual Disability is a type of developmental brain disorder in young patients which to date remains poorly understood and is incurable. Researchers focussed on mutations in the OGT gene, which plays a critical role in protecting brain cells against stress. In patients harbouring OGT mutations, this protective effect is lost.
01 Nov 2017
The University of Dundee has formed a new link with China, with Professor Daan van Aalten from the School of Life Sciences being appointed a guest professor at Xiangya Hospital at Central South University in Changsha, China. Professor van Aalten is a Wellcome Trust Investigator in the Division of Gene Regulation and Expression in the School of Life Sciences. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the role of the enzyme O-GlcNAc transferase in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.
05 Oct 2017
Scientists at the School have identified the structure of a key enzyme that protects the brain against Parkinson’s disease. The result of a decade of work, the research team said that solving the 3D structure and inner workings of the PINK1 enzyme represented a major breakthrough.
29 Oct 2012
Researchers at the University of Dundee have uncovered the mechanism of an important human enzyme that plays a role in the development of debilitating diseases including cancer, dementia and diabetes. Professor Daan van Aalten and his team at the University’s College of Life Sciences have been studying how proteins in the cell are regulated by an unusual chemical modification called O-GlcNAc.
24 Feb 2011
Professor Daan van Aalten, of the College of Life Sciences, Division of Molecular Microbiology has been named the joint recipient of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Dextra Laboratories Carbohydrate Award along with Stuart Haslam from Imperial College. The award, sponsored by Dextra, consists of a silver medal and a cash prize and the recipient is invited to give a lecture at a Royal Society of Chemistry meeting to be held in Liverpool this Autumn (15-16 Sept 2011).