Dr Louise kelly
Air pollutants have been shown to cause a vast amount of different adverse health effects. These effects include the impairment of respiratory and cardiovascular function. However, in recent years, the evidence showing effects beyond the lung and circulatory system, has become more evident. Neurological diseases, namely Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has shown to be associated with living near traffic. Yet, the reason for this has remained unresolved. Despite the fact that air pollution and brain disease are linked, the effects of extremely fine particles on brain function have been insufficiently assessed. In addition, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the connection between brain health, AD and air pollution remain completely unknown. While the association of air pollutants with cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases such as AD has been discussed, it has also remained unclear, which components of air pollution are responsible for these effects. Moreover, very little is known about the effects of extremely fine particles, as well as of (S)VOCs from combustion engines, especially regarding effects beyond the lung, the main entrance and primary target organ.
Investigating Immunisation Strategies for the Treatment of Synucleinopathies
Dr Christopher Brown
Next generation immunisation strategies have enabled the manufacture of highly efficacious vaccines to treat major global diseases which are currently untreatable. United Neuroscience (UNS), a biotechnological company, has aimed to overcome the current vaccine challenges in the field of neurodegenerative disease by designing highly targeted vaccines which elicit a protective immune response. Synucleinopathies comprise a group of neurodegenerative diseases that are characterised by primary alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) pathology such as Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Multiple systems atrophy (MSA). The central role of α-Syn in the pathogenesis of these diseases highlights it as a promising target for therapy. In this study we aim to test the effects of novel α-Syn vaccines developed by UNS on preventing the onset and progression of neurodegeneration in mouse models of these synucleinopathies. In order to investigate this, we first need to understand the pathway along which α-Syn is naturally cleared from the brain and we can then establish how immunotherapy modulates this process and evaluate the neuroprotective effects of this as a treatment.