University of Cambridge

My lab is interested in understanding mechanisms of neurodegeneration. The central theme is the identification of common pathways across the spectrum of these disorders (which include Alzheimer’s and related diseases) that are relevant for both mechanistic insights and therapy. We focus both on ‘toxic’ processes that can be targeted to prevent neuronal death, and on regenerative processes that can be harnessed for repair. Using mouse models, we described the pathogenic role of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in neurodegeneration, which led to the discovery of the first small molecule – an inhibitor of this pathway – to prevent neurodegeneration in vivo. We also recently discovered the phenomenon of failure of synaptic repair processes in neurodegeneration and the underlying mechanisms: failure of another stress response involving ‘cold shock’ proteins, which we have successfully harnessed for neuroprotection. We aim to translate this research for new treatments for dementia.