"One of the main questions for amyloid research are: how do we capture the change of the protein from good to bad? New WG on Amyloid: an integrative approach

Age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are expected to increase as our populations are getting older. For almost 40 years scientists have intensively studied the changes which are happening in the brain – however we are still far from treatment of those terminal diseases. More and more scientist are now turning to new techniques within neutrons and x-rays to find out more about amyloid structure, and to understand why a good protein turns malignant.

One such scientist is Oxana Klementieva, researcher at the Medical Faculty at Lund University, who is leading a new working group on amyloids at LINXS. The working group is part of the Integrative Structural Biology theme with the aim to boost the discussion of existing and novel experimental approaches and established/developed methodology/analyses. The groups also wants to discuss biological/medical scientific problems that can be analysed by the co-use of structure analysis at MAX IV and soon ESS.

– By using different advanced techniques available now in the Lund vicinity, by sharing experience, and by discussing existing needs and problems, we aim to understand the amyloid protein structure better. More knowledge on protein structures can help researchers to discover the mechanisms of why people develop neurodegenerative amyloidopathies diseases (for example, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’ disease among others).

– One of the main questions for amyloid research are: how do we capture the change of the protein from good to bad? Why may normally functioning protein become neurotoxic? Could we protect normally functioning protein from being changed? To discover the molecular mechanisms which may lead to amyloid diseases, new approaches and technologies are needed.

The main aim of the amyloid working group is to create a strong user community, which will help to develop research in the amyloid field. The proximity of the new giant world-class facilities, such as MAX IV Laboratory and ESS, to Lund University provides a unique opportunity for the research, including the amyloid field.

– That is why we have to promote science and also education connected to the use and co-use of these facilities. We have advanced users and researchers who potentially might be interested to use MAX IV and ESS in amyloid research, says Oxana Klementieva.

– To effectively move for forward, each level of users needs an appropriate environment, and the amyloid group aims to create such environments. For example, for advanced users, data analysis, exchange of experience; and for the beginners: how you apply for beam time, and how to prepare the experiments at a large scale facility. Finally, we plan to bring clinicians and basic scientists together to discuss the amyloid mechanisms and amyloid diseases.

The working group is organising its first workshop: "Mind the many gaps in amyloid fibre structure analyses", 21 - 22 November.

About the working group Amyloid: an integrative approach

The working group aims to create large user base, to create a net hub to create an ideal research environment which will attract best scientists and will help to promote knowledge and tools for co-use of both MAXIV and ESS facilities. The group aims to initiate a discussion forum amongst researchers working on amyloid using a wide range of different approaches ranging from molecular level approaches to imaging & clinical work. The topic therefore relates primarily to the LINXS mission within the Integrative Structural Biology theme, but may have natural connectivity to the other current themes. The main beneficiaries will be researchers active in this important area of human health, as well as any evolving technologies or synergies that arise. It is planned that this group will probe important issues that are problematic to the field, and also stimulate a wider holistic discussion.


Photo: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay.

Photo: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay.

Noomi Egan