Currently no treatments exist to slow down or stop Parkinson’s disease in patients. But eight years of research by a dedicated team at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit in Dundee has brought us a step closer. Doctor and Research Fellow Maratul Muqit explains the thrill of revealing the inner workings of a specific enzyme in the brain, and why this could help towards developing future drugs for patients.
Over the last 10 years as a doctor specialising in Parkinson’s disease, I have been asked by my patients many times whether a cure was in sight. I used to struggle to answer that question with anything but ambivalence given the long list of failures of clinical trials in Parkinson’s. Read more
Kirstin Leslie, MRC PhD student at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow, is the 2017 winner of our Max Perutz Science Writing Award. In her award-winning article she explains how she’s trying to find out why people stop taking drugs prescribed for preventing heart disease, and why this matters.
“When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all”
That’s actually a quote from the TV show Futurama but it’s also a clear way of explaining why people are not always good at taking their medications. Imagine: you‘re taking a drug to prevent yourself from having a heart attack. But if you don’t feel any different after taking the drug, how can you know it’s even worked? Maybe you weren’t going to have a heart attack anyway? Maybe the drug you’re taking is giving you side-effects and besides, it isn’t worth it because you felt fine before. You don’t want to bother your doctor getting a new prescription and your blood pressure wasn’t that high anyway…So you stop taking your drugs and you hope for the best.
But heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. And it’s preventable.
To improve the outlook for patients with life-threatening fungal disease, we need a coordinated approach to tackle the infections. That’s why we set up the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology (MRC CMM) with the University of Aberdeen last year. Here Masters students Joanne Calley, Emily Speakman, Catherine Mark and Alexander Currie share five reasons why they chose to study fungi and are excited to be working at the forefront of fungal diseases research.
Fluorescent stain of zinc (blue) in Candida albicans cells (red)