Mechanisms of axon degeneration in ageing and disease

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Clinical Neurosciences


To be confirmed

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/K012983/2 30/09/2015 30/11/2018
1661163 Studentship BB/K012983/2 30/09/2015 29/09/2019 Stacey Gould
Title Roche Continents Participant 
Description 100 science and art students were selected from across Europe to attend a week of events organised by the Pharmaceutical company Roche. We spent the week attending events and doing workshops in Salzburg as part of the Salzburg Festival. This included creating and performing an original group musical piece, photography workshops, delivering a group presentation on a response to how one could visually represent the number 1 billion and the opportunity to attend opera and live musical productions. There were also plenty of opportunities to interact with scientsits from Roche 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Connections made with scientists in a leading Pharmaceutical company. Connections made with other scientists and artists at a similar academic level as me. Artisitic workshops and challenges provided an opportunity for us to test and improve on our abilities to solve novel problems that we don't necessarily have experience in. Meeting scientists from Roche encouraged us to consider similar career paths and options. 
Description We discovered that genetically decreasing levels of a protein that causes axons to die can delay (or prevent) axon death. We also found that it is possible to add a drug to mimic this effect (the drug slows axon death and in some cases can prevent it).
Exploitation Route Treatment for a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases.
Sectors Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Compound test 
Organisation University of Texas
Department M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Test compound to see if it acts via the mechanism they think.
Collaborator Contribution Provided compound to test
Impact No outcome yet
Start Year 2016
Description Testing Sarm1 antisense oligonucleotides from Ionis Pharmaceuticals 
Organisation Ionis Pharmaceuticals
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Tested the ability of Ionis antisense oligonucleotides to prevent axons from dying after injury or exposure to neurotoxins
Collaborator Contribution Provided antisense oligonucleotides
Impact Paper submitted for publication. Other collaborations within the group to explore the use of their compound in other models and diseases.
Start Year 2019
Description Accessible talks about scientific research for non-scientific staff. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Scientific researchers in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences communicate thier research to the non-science members of the department who support scientists' work in so many ways. The main aim of these talks is to both inform and learn from the people that support scientists' work from technical (i.e., animal technicians) and administrative (i.e., finance, reception, administrators) backgrounds about what they do and the challenges scientists all face on a day-to-day basis. Future sessions will include poster sessions where scientists show their results in a poster format with lay explanations, which will encourage more questions and discussion from non-scientific staff. Some non-scientific members of the department have also been invited to do the same in an attempt to enable everyone to understand the complications of each other's worlds. This can be used as an opportunity to better understand each other's requirements and help reduce any unnecessary miscommunications. Non-scientific staff have said it is exciting to be able to hear about scietific work going on in the department and to be able to have the opportunity to spend time talking to the scientists.

We aim to arrange the first session towards the end of February and based on the success, will probably run them once every 3 months. Because so many of you responded, I think we have already enough people for the first year of talks!

If anyone has a burning desire to present in the first session, please do let me know. It would be useful to have someone who has recently encountered problems or setbacks interacting with non-scientific staff.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018