University of Dundee

Funding boost for University of Dundee researcher

02 Aug 2018

One of the UK’s leading researchers into Parkinson’s disease has received a major funding award to continue with his groundbreaking work. Dr Miratul Muqit, senior researcher in the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU), has been awarded £2million following the renewal of his Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Clinical Science.

Dr Muqit, who is also a Consultant Neurologist at Ninewells Hospital where he treats patients with Parkinson’s and other degenerative brain disorders, will use the funding to continue his investigations into the mechanisms of the condition. Over the last ten years, his research has revealed the function of two Parkinson’s linked genes called PINK1 and Parkin. The proteins encoded by these genes cooperate in a common pathway to trigger the removal of the energy-producing structures of cells, mitochondria, when they become damaged. Disruption of this process represents a key cause of Parkinson’s. Last year, Dr Muqit and colleagues analysed the first 3D structure of the PINK1 protein that provided new insights into how to target the gene therapeutically.

Dr Muqit said, “I am extremely grateful to the Wellcome Trust for its ongoing funding of my work. We still have many important questions to understand how the PINK1 and Parkin pathway is controlled and answering these will be crucial for identifying new treatment strategies against Parkinson’s. In particular, we are investigating whether other Parkinson’s genes lie in networks with PINK1. Both my research and that of my colleague Dario Alessi in the MRC-PPU have positioned Dundee as one of the world’s leading centres in protein research in Parkinson’s. I believe we are in a very exciting era of Parkinson’s research that will ultimately lead to effective treatments for patients.”

Professor Dario Alessi, Director of the MRC-PPU, added, “The work that Dr Muqit is doing on PINK1 and Parkin biology is very important for better understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. I am thrilled that the Wellcome Trust has agreed to support this work for another five years and I congratulate Dr Muqit for securing this prestigious grant.”