Our aim is to understand fundamental biological processes that could inform the development of targeted therapies and innovative biomarkers in neurodegenerative and neurogenetic disorders.
The group was established by Dr Tofaris to investigate cellular mechanisms that regulate the clearance of misfolded proteins or damaged organelles in age-related neurodegenerative and rare neurogenetic disorders with a primary focus on Parkinson’s disease. To this end, we are currently employing a multifaceted approach encompassing forward genetics, proteomics and transcriptomics in models of increasing cellular complexity, including the use of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to:
- Identify enzymes that are relevant to alpha-synuclein homeostasis or dopaminergic cell viability more broadly
- Understand how disruption of these mechanisms leads to disease
- Translate this fundamental knowledge into rational mechanism-based therapies
In collaboration with the Department of Chemistry in Oxford, we are also investigating the role of exosomes as biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease progression.
Our work involves interactions with research groups internationally via the EU IMI Consortium IMPRiND and the pharmaceutical industry.