The Molecular Neuroscience Group focuses on investigating the molecular mechanisms that can cause neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), and Huntington’s disease (HD).
Many neurodegenerative diseases are caused by aberrant forms of proteins which tend to accumulate and aggregate into shapes, which are believed to be toxic to the brain cells of affected patients. The proteins thought to cause disease are referred to as amyloid proteins. Amyloids are special in that, under circumstances not yet fully understood, they can ‘misfold’ and in the ensuing misfolded states they have a tendency to clump together, and be ‘trafficked’ from one neuron to another in the brains of patients suffering from diseases such as PD, AD, and HD. In order to study these processes in live cells/organisms we use primary neuronal cultures, neuronal cell lines, and small organisms such as the earthworm C. elegans as models of disease.