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Department of Chemistry


I received an Honours B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and completed my Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in the laboratory of Prof. G.A. Woolley, where my work involved investigating reversible photo-control of peptide structure and activity. In 2003, I was awarded a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship and joined the research group of Prof. Sir Christopher M. Dobson in the Dept. of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, during which time I have been a Co-researcher Investigator on a BBRSC Project grant, a Senior Research Associate, and I am now a Principal Research Associate in the Centre for Misfolding Diseases.

My research interests focus on linking amyloid structures with cellular dysfunction. Aggregation in vivo is associated with a wide range of human disorders including Parkinson’s disease, systemic amyloidosis and motor neurone disease. Due to the prevalence of these disorders, it is crucial to increase our understanding of the mechanisms by which disease-associated peptides and proteins behave aberrantly. As the process of amyloid formation results in the population of a highly heterogeneous array of different protein conformers, it is extremely difficult to resolve how specific misfolded protein states elicit detrimental cellular responses. With this challenge in mind, our current research projects use a multidisciplinary approach aimed to define the structural attributes of these elusive species and to determine their influence on cellular trafficking, homeostasis and cell-to-cell transfer processes, all factors that are crucial in disease progression.








Trodusquemine enhances Aβ 42 aggregation but suppresses its toxicity by displacing oligomers from cell membranes
R Limbocker, S Chia, FS Ruggeri, M Perni, R Cascella, GT Heller, G Meisl, B Mannini, J Habchi, TCT Michaels, PK Challa, M Ahn, ST Casford, N Fernando, CK Xu, ND Kloss, SIA Cohen, JR Kumita, C Cecchi, M Zasloff, S Linse, TPJ Knowles, F Chiti, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson
– Nature Communications
Using tetracysteine-tagged TDP-43 with a biarsenical dye to monitor real-time trafficking in a cell model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
JSW Ng, MA Hanspal, NS Matharu, TP Barros, EK Esbjörner, MR Wilson, JJ Yerbury, CM Dobson, JR Kumita
– Biochemistry
Defining alpha-synuclein species responsible for Parkinson's disease phenotypes in mice
JM Froula, M Castellana-Cruz, NM Anabtawi, JD Camino, SW Chen, DR Thrasher, J Freire, AA Yazdi, S Fleming, CM Dobson, JR Kumita, N Cremades, LA Volpicelli-Daley
– Journal of Biological Chemistry
Secondary nucleation and elongation occur at different sites on Alzheimer's amyloid-β aggregates.
T Scheidt, U Łapińska, JR Kumita, DR Whiten, D Klenerman, MR Wilson, SIA Cohen, S Linse, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, TPJ Knowles, P Arosio
– Sci Adv
Human pregnancy zone protein stabilizes misfolded proteins including preeclampsia- and Alzheimer’s-associated amyloid beta peptide
JH Cater, JR Kumita, R Zeineddine Abdallah, G Zhao, A Bernardo-Gancedo, A Henry, W Winata, M Chi, BSF Grenyer, ML Townsend, M Ranson, CS Buhimschi, DS Charnock-Jones, CM Dobson, MR Wilson, IA Buhimschi, AR Wyatt
– Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Fabrication and Characterization of Reconstituted Silk Microgels for the Storage and Release of Small Molecules.
X Liu, Z Toprakcioglu, AJ Dear, A Levin, FS Ruggeri, CG Taylor, M Hu, JR Kumita, M Andreasen, CM Dobson, U Shimanovich, TPJ Knowles
– Macromolecular rapid communications
Chemical and mechanistic analysis of photodynamic inhibition of Alzheimer's beta-amyloid aggregation
M Ahn, BI Lee, S Chia, J Habchi, JR Kumita, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson, CB Park
– Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)
Multistep Inhibition of alpha-Synuclein Aggregation and Toxicity in Vitro and in Vivo by Trodusquemine
M Perni, P Flagmeier, R Limbocker, R Cascella, FA Aprile, C Galvagnion, GT Heller, G Meisl, SW Chen, JR Kumita, PK Challa, JB Kirkegaard, SIA Cohen, B Mannini, D Barbut, EAA Nollen, C Cecchi, N Cremades, TPJ Knowles, F Chiti, M Zasloff, M Vendruscolo, CM Dobson
– ACS Chemical Biology
Single-Molecule Characterization of the Interactions between Extracellular Chaperones and Toxic α-Synuclein Oligomers
DR Whiten, D Cox, MH Horrocks, CG Taylor, S De, P Flagmeier, L Tosatto, JR Kumita, H Ecroyd, CM Dobson, D Klenerman, MR Wilson
– Cell Reports
Cholesterol catalyses Aβ42 aggregation through a heterogeneous nucleation pathway in the presence of lipid membranes
J Habchi, S Chia, C Galvagnion, TCT Michaels, MMJ Bellaiche, FS Ruggeri, M Sanguanini, I Idini, JR Kumita, E Sparr, S Linse, CM Dobson, TPJ Knowles, M Vendruscolo
– Nature Chemistry
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01223 761480

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