Jack Connor

Navigating Through Sequence Space to Understand Alpha-Synuclein Aggregation

About Me

I graduated from the University of York with a master’s in molecular cell biology with a particular interest in neurodegenerative diseases. After graduating, I worked as a research assistant at the Wade-Martins lab at the University of Oxford. During my time in Oxford, I used cellular models to investigate mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease. Now, in my PhD, I am able to continue pursuing my interest in neurodegeneration but from a new biochemical perspective.

My Project

A protein called alpha-synuclein is known to aggregate in a range of diseases referred to as synucleinopathies which includes Parkinson’s disease. It is well known that the NAC region of alpha-synuclein is vital for aggregation into amyloids which are a hallmark of synucleinopathies. Recent work has identified that regions flanking the NAC play a critical role in amyloid formation. For my PhD I will be investigating the role of these flanking regions in aggregation using a variety of biochemical and biophysical techniques such as NMR, mass spectrometry and single molecule FRET. The aim is to further our understanding of aggregation to open new avenues for the development of effective therapeutics.