The research work underway by Professor Myra Conway and her team at the University of West of England into Alzheimer’s disease is vital. The commitment and enthusiasm for this work is a joy to witness. Here Marcela Usmari Moraes, a key member of the research team, brings us up to date on their work.
‘The work at the Centre for Research in Bioscience at the University of the West of England focuses on understanding how disease develops and potential treatments to address them, with many research groups looking at different types or parts of a particular condition but working in collaboration to improve the current disease conception. These collaborations are key for the research community as it helps to improve the quality of the work and the speed at which our knowledge can be improved.
Our research group is mostly interested in studying how neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease develop and progress at a molecular level, particularly in relation to other diseases such as type 2 diabetes. To do so, we work with neuronal (brain) cells to assess the activity of certain proteins which, when not functioning properly, can affect cellular mechanisms that are vital for a healthy brain. The CytoSMART allows us to visualise these cells and check whether they’re healthy by looking at how viable they are after we induce changes to cellular signalling processes, and with the new Western Blot and centrifuge equipment we can take a much more in-depth look at how these proteins are expressed in these brain cells.
Our plan is to continue with our current focus but with a much broader scope. We have made exciting progress so far which will be very important for future research in the link between Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes, and potential treatment options for slowing the progression of both diseases.’
Myra’s work is very important to us and her research is now supported by us as a Partner Charity which will secure funding over the foreseeable future.