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Neuropathology

The group members are engaged in investigating a wide spectrum of conditions and diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia), with the focus on both neurones and glia, using diverse, but complementary approaches (imaging, molecular and cell biology techniques, electrophysiology, microbiological techniques).

Key achievements

Group members regularly publish in peer-reviewed journals below.

Prof. StJohn Crean has an extensive experience in Alzheimer’s disease research, particularly in relation to the role of oral bacteria.

Prof. Colin Davidson has an interest in neurodegeneration, pre-clinical stroke research and drug abuse where methamphetamine has been shown to be neurotoxic, especially to the dopamine system. He uses fast cyclic voltammetry to measure neurotransmitters in brain tissue and rodent behavioural models to test novel therapeutics.  He has recently been funded by the European Commission.

In September 2018 Colin presented his research into ‘legal highs’ as part of the British Science Festival, which took place in Hull and the Humber.

Colin has had an article published on The Conversation about the dangers of ‘legal highs’ entitled “Legal highs’ may be more dangerous than traditional drugs of abuse”.

Dr Donna Daly has received support from two drug companies (Allergan and Astellas) and from a Marie Curie ITN (EU funding) in collaboration with her previous supervisors from the University of Sheffield.

Dr Inmaculada Gonzalez has received funding:

1) Awarding body: European Research Council (Marie Curie actions)

Title: The roles of juvenile NMDA receptors in synapse maturation and elimination and their association with cognitionAmounts awarded: 166336 EUR
03/2013 to 02/2015

2) Awarding body: European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Title: ASTF 438 – 2011
Amounts awarded: 7279 EUR
01/2012 to 03/2012

Dr Sim Singhrao is interested in establishing periodontal pathogens as a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The ultimate aim is to suggest a programme of health through scientific evidence by changing lifestyles and preventing hundreds of unnecessary sporadic dementia cases arising every year.  In 2018 she spoke at the International Conference and Public Debate on Chronic Inflammatory Diseases, about the role of gum disease causing bacteria as a risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Anna Barlach has received two grants towards research into Alzheimer’s Disease and will be working with Dr Jane Alder looking at links between gum disease and neurodegeneration.

Dr Vassilis Beglopoulos, Lecturer in Neuroscience in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences has been offered the opportunity to present part of his group’s latest research on Alzheimer’s disease with an oral presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (USA) in Chicago, on 19-23 October 2019. Vassilis’ talk will be entitled “Cellular mechanisms in memory retrieval and its impairment in amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice, as revealed by synapse proteomics”.

Dr Shalini Kanagasingam and Dr Sim Singhrao from the School of Dentistry were awarded an initial Oral and Dental Research Trust, Oral Health Innovation-ODRT OHI- (PreViser) Award of £4,907.00 in May 2018 and a follow up award of £5000 in April 2019 to study the Role of periodontal/endodontic pathogens in the development of the sporadic form of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Shalini Kanagasingam from the School of Dentistry was awarded the TC White ‘Young Researcher Award’ of £10,000 in June 2019 from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. She will use the grant to further her work with Dr Sim Singhrao into the importance of endo-perio lesions in the development of tau-neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr Jane Alder has developed a novel human three-dimensional in vitro blood brain barrier (BBB) model from primary cells with realistic architecture and dynamic flow for the study of BBB dysfunction associated with neurodegenerative pathogenesis.

Dr Anthony Ashton’s group has characterized in depth the fact that synaptic vesicles can undergo both full fusion and kiss-and-run exocytosis and that vesicles can switch between these modes dependent upon the stimulation conditions and the precise pool of vesicles undergoing release. The switch is controlled by calcium levels and protein phosphorylation and we have established that two proteins – dynamin 1 and non-muscle myosin 2 – can regulate the kiss-and-run mode by closing the fusion pore. These results have been presented at several international meetings.

Dr Chris Smith’s experience of in vivo microdialysis can be applied to disparate conditions from glioma to Alzheimer’s disease where the neurochemistry of the brain can be monitored in situ in the living organism as the disease progresses. In addition the technique can be used to determine the effect pharmacological agents would have on the release of neurotransmitters.

Dr Craig Bertram studies Parkinson’s disease (specifically the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying the L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia), as well as the disturbance of glutamatergic signalling in dementia models (e.g frontotemporal dementia, FTD).