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Postgraduate Admissions

Professor Chris Dobson FRS

The Amyloid Phenomenon & Its Signifcance for Human Disease

Protein folding is an essential step in the generation of biological functionality and much is understood about the underlying mechanism of this complex and ubiquitous process. Proteins can, however, misfold or fail to remain in their correctly folded states, and in some such cases this results in the formation of intractable aggregates, amyloid fibrils. More than fifty diseases are now linked to this phenomenon including neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, non-neuropathic organ specific disorders such as type II diabetes, and a range of systemic amyloidoses.

Although some of these diseases are rare, others are increasingly common as a result of rapidly changing lifespans and lifestyles. Worldwide, 40 million people are estimated to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and nearly 400 million from type II diabetes. In addition to its significance for disease, however, it is clear that understanding the balance between folding and misfolding gives new and important insights into the nature of functional protein molecules and the process of biological evolution.

This talk will provide an overview of work carried out in this field and discuss recent progress in our knowledge of the structural and physical properties of the amyloid state, the kinetics and mechanism of its formation, the nature and origins of its links with disease and the manner in which such links can be inhibited or suppressed.

T  01223 763070