Dr. Omar El-Agnaf's Group
Pathological studies in human neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the prion dementias (e.g. mad cow disease and its equivalent, CJD, in humans), British dementia and Huntington’s disease, have revealed abundant protein deposits (‘amyloid’) in the affected neurons. There is now substantial evidence from molecular genetics, pathological, transgenic animal and biochemical studies to suggest that the conversion of these amyloid proteins from soluble monomers to aggregated, insoluble forms in the brain is a key event in the pathogenesis of these diseases.
Current research efforts in Dr. El-Agnaf’s laboratory cover the following topics: (1) Elucidating the mechanism of protein aggregation and deposition, and the potential link to neurodegeneration and cell loss; (2) Screening for small natural molecules as potential novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases; (3) Discovering novel biological markers for Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s diseases; (4) Developing novel immunoassays for diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases, particularly in their early stages; (5) Developing conformation-specific monoclonal antibodies for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease pathology for use in dissecting the pathogenic mechanisms, developing novel diagnosis and vaccines for neurodegenerative disorders; (6) Developing novel MRI- and PET-imaging compounds for Parkinson’s disease.