Medicine

An investigation into cognitive dysfunction in honeybees and bumblebees as models for human neurodegenerative disease

The incidence of neurodegenerative disease is expected to become a major social and economical burden on society as the world’s population ages. There are no animal models that permit an investigation into both higher cognitive function and social interaction. One recently identified model is the use of bee colonies that exist as large (60,000 for honeybees) social communities where decisions are made democratically and bees communicate constantly.

Novel leptin based therapies to treat neurodegenerative disease.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive brain disorder resulting in profound cognitive and memory impairments. Clinical studies indicate that diet and lifestyle are key risk factors for developing neurodegenerative disorders like AD. Metabolic imbalance is also implicated in AD. Recent studies have linked the metabolic hormone, leptin to an increased incidence of AD. Consequently, leptin dysfunction may be a key factor in AD pathogenesis. Thus leptin-based therapies may prove beneficial in treating AD.

The regulation of oncogenic signalling through the Ras/MAP kinase pathway by dual-specificity protein phosphatases

Signalling through the classical Ras/ERK MAP kinase pathway is implicated in the genesis and progression of human tumours carrying activating mutations is upstream pathway effectors such as receptor tyrosine kinases and the Ras family of cellular proto-oncogenes.

Spatial feedback controls during mitosis

Background: Two principle surveillance mechanisms have evolved to guard against errors during chromosome segregation. The mitotic checkpoint delays mitosis until each and every sister chromatid has achieved stable attachment to spindle microtubules (via a protein complex known as the kinetochore), and the microtubule error-correction pathway guides this attachment process by ensuring it remains free of errors. In spite of these safeguards, the majority of tumours still manage to continually missegregate their genome.

Why does Glucophage (metformin) help some people with diabetes?

Much current research is focused on insulin resistance and how it might be reversed where current treatments are ineffective. The best treatment for insulin-resistant T2D is metformin but the target of this drug is still unclear, hampering development of improved agents to replace metformin, which is not effective in all T2DM and loses potency with prolonged use.

How do cells decide which pathway to use to repair DNA Breaks and what is the impact on cancer?

The DNA Damage Response (DDR) is a major component of a cells defence against disease. It serves to recognize and repair DNA damage, to regulate cell-cycle progression and where necessary, promote programmed cell death. One of the most potentially dangerous forms of DNA damage is a double stranded DNA break (DSB), which must be dealt with to maintain the structural and genetic integrity of a cell. Failure to do so results in generation of chromosomal aberrations such as chromosomal translocations that are potentially tumorigenic.

Investigation of the molecular mechanism of metformin

Much current research is focused on insulin resistance and how it might be reversed where current treatments are ineffective. The best treatment for insulin-resistant Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is metformin but the target of this drug is still unclear, hampering development of improved agents to support metformin, which is not effective in all T2D and loses potency with prolonged use.

Chronic Heart failure [CHF] and the study of pharmacogenomics: Towards customized medicine in CHF therapy

There is increasing evidence that genetic variability can play an important role in inter individual response to medication. Variants of genes have been reported to modulate the response to drugs that are used in heart failure such as beta-blockers and diuretics. However their impact on outcome is yet to be established and it is likely that many other as yet undiscovered variants are likely to also have a significant impact.

The genomics of cardiovascular disease and drug response in type 2 diabetes

The field of personalised medicine is being transformed by the use of whole genome technology.  We are currently studying a population of 9000 individuals with type 2 diabetes to determine the genetic factors in determining their response to a wide range of commonly used drugs such as the statin family of cholesterol lowering drugs and anti-clotting agents such as aspirin.  The use of these drugs may be limited by side effects such as muscle pain, in the case of statins, and stomach bleeding in the case of aspirin.   We have performed a whole genome scan in 8000 individuals with type 2 diab

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