Sheffield Institute for
Translational Neuroscience

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SITraN Communications
Rebecca Brown
E: rebecca.brown@sheffield.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)114 222 2261

Latest News

21.06.2013

Parkinson’s UK prestigious Senior Research Fellowship Award

A postdoctoral scientist from the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) is awarded a prestigious Senior Research Fellowship by Parkinson’s UK.

Heather

Dr Heather Mortiboys is the sole recipient of this year’s Senior Research Fellowship from Parkinson’s UK. Heather has worked in the field of Parkinson’s Disease for the past 12 years beginning her research career at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany after which she moved to the University of Sheffield to continue her work investigating mitochondrial health in Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease with the most striking symptoms being that of movement impairment. Parkinson’s UK is a charity which supports people with Parkinson’s Disease and their carers as well as raising money in order to support valuable research aimed at finding a cure for the condition (www.parkinsons.org.uk).

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21.06.2013

Dr James Hensman awarded MRC Biostatistics Fellowship

Dr James Hensman, who is a post-doc in SITraN and Computer Science, has been awarded an MRC fellowship in biostatistics to study mathematical aspects of RNA sequencing.

James HensmanJames has worked in the cross-disciplinary group within SITraN for two years with Professor Neil Lawrence, advancing the use of probabilistic models of gene expression data from microarrays. High throughput sequencing of RNA (RNA-Seq) has the potential to unlock many secrets of the transcriptome, including alternative splicing of genes which is implicated by current studies in motor neurone disease.

James’ research fits well with current directions in the department of Neuroscience, SITraN has recently commissioned a sequencing machine. Development of probabilistic models of splicing and gene expression will give other researchers in the department and beyond the statistical tools to investigate transcriptome related phenomena in diseases, from data generated by such machines. The award strengthens the integration of the machine-learning and biostatistics group within SITraN.

31.05.2013

ENCALs 2013 hosted by SITraN

More than 200 international scientists and clinicians who are working to find a cure for the devastating neurodegenerative condition Motor Neurone Disease (MND) recently gathered at the Sheffield City Hall for the 11th annual meeting of the European Network for the Cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ENCALS).ENCALs_1.jpg

Over 6,000 people in the UK suffer from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as MND. The incurable disease destroys the cells which control movement causing progressive disability. Sufferers may lose their ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe, and at present treatment options for the protection of motor neurones have only a modest effect. More effective therapies are urgently needed.

The Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience directed by Professor Pam Shaw hosted the three day ENCALS event from Friday 31st May 2013 to Sunday 2nd June 2013 at the Sheffield City Hall. This important annual European meeting aims to bring together the key MND research groups to share their latest research and knowledge.

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30.05.2013

World leading scientists join forces to fight devastating degenerative disease

More than 200 international scientists and clinicians who are fighting to find a cure for the devastating degenerative condition Motor Neurone Disease (MND) will gather in Sheffield for a world leading event.

The pioneering Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) is hosting the 11th annual meeting of the European Network for the Cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – also known as MND. Over 6,000 people in the UK suffer from MND. The incurable disease destroys the cells which control movement causing progressive disability. Sufferers may lose their ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe, and at present treatment options for the protection of motor neurones have only a modest effect. More effective therapies are urgently needed. EmilyG.jpg

The three day European Network for the Cure of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ENCALS) event is an important annual European meeting that aims to bring together the key MND research groups to share their latest research and knowledge. Professor Pam Shaw, Director of SITraN and Consultant Neurologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “It is a great honour and pleasure to be hosting the 11th ENCALS meeting in the heart of Sheffield.

"The meeting is a wonderful event to showcase the latest research discoveries on MND from all the major centres in Europe and to encourage young clinicians and scientists into the field of MND research. I am certain that all the delegates and our guest professors from the USA will greatly enjoy South Yorkshire hospitality”

This year's meeting, which will take place at Sheffield City Hall from Friday 31 May – Sunday 2 June 2013, includes two speakers who are renowned MND investigators from the USA, Professor Stanley Appel and Professor Clive Svendsen alongside Professor Pam Shaw and Dr Christopher McDermott from SITraN.

The world renowned event also provides an important platform for the next generation of MND researchers to present their work to leading international scientists. Dr Emily Goodall is amongst four investigators from SITraN showcasing her pioneering work.

Motor Neurone Disease
• MND is a progressive disease that attacks motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord.
• It can affect any adult at any age – although most people diagnosed with the disease are over 40.
• The disease affects nearly twice as many men as women.
• Approximately two in every 100,000 people are diagnosed with the condition.
• MND leaves people unable to walk, talk or feed themselves, but the intellect and the senses usually remain unaffected.
• People with MND can still think and feel, but their muscles refuse to work.
• MND is typically fatal within 2–5 years of symptom onset.
For more information visit the Motor Neurone Disease Association MNDA.


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15.05.2013

New BBSRC Research Grant Awarded to Dr Stephen Wharton and Dr Paul Heath in SITraN.

SITraN researchers Dr Stephen Wharton and Dr Paul Heath have been awarded £441,512 by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) for a research project that  aims to study changes that occur with ageing in the cells that line the blood vessels of the brain.

These cells, called endothelial cells, are important in regulating the entry of nutrients and other substances into the tissue of the brain. Malfunction of these cells during ageing and in diseases such as Alzheimer’s can result in the leakage of molecules from the blood into the brain, which may result in damage to nerve cells.

This project is a collaboration with a group at the Open University led by Dr Ignacio Romero. We plan to study a class of molecules called microRNAs.  These molecules regulate the expression of genes within cells by binding to the messenger RNA that encodes for proteins.

We plan to study how the pattern of microRNAs produced in endothelial cells changes with ageing in the human brain using donated autopsy tissue. We will then study the effects of these changes experimentally. This work will tell us whether changes in microRNAs are important in driving ageing changes in endothelial cells, contributing to age-related brain pathology.

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