Assembling the molecular jigsaw of the brain

Posted by pt91 at Oct 12, 2012 11:18 AM |
Free public lecture on Tuesday 16 October explores latest work in mapping the molecules of the mind

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 12 October 2012

‘Deciphering molecular clues to better understand human neurodegenerative disease’

Tuesday 16 October at 5.30pm

Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 1 at the University of Leicester

Free and open to the public

How scientists are piecing together our brains molecule by molecule in an effort to better understand neurodegenerative disease will be the topic explored at a free public lecture at the University of Leicester.

Professor Ruth Luthi-Carter of the University of Leicester Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology & the Department of Genetics will give her professorial inaugural lecture ‘Deciphering molecular clues to better understand human neurodegenerative disease’ on Tuesday 16 October at the University of Leicester.

Professor Luthi-Carter is an international leader in the application of RNA profiling approaches to understand neurodegenerative diseases and has led several large international consortium projects on Huntington’s Disease, the world’s most prevalent hereditary neurodegenerative disorder.

She said, “The overall mission of my current research is to engage the power of modern genomic technologies to decipher the molecular events that underpin how the brain works.

“Our approach is akin to assembling many tiny pieces of a puzzle into a discernable picture. By comparing a series of different molecular snapshots of the brain to one other, we can draw high-level insights and formulate novel hypotheses about what is happening in the brain during a particular process, such as how the brain directs the body to perform a certain task, or alternatively, how the brain is adversely affected by a disease.

“In this lecture, I will introduce the strengths and challenges of our research approach and give some specific examples of how our studies have yielded new insights into the molecular universe of the brain, including the etiology and possible treatment of neurodegenerative states.”

One major focus of her research is how the brain is affected by the neurodegenerative disorder Huntington’s disease.

Professor Luthi-Carter said, “By studying many different types of Huntington’s disease-related samples, we have succeeded in developing a more complete understanding of the molecular and cellular events in the disease process.

“Importantly, this groundwork has yielded new insights about how communication between HD-affected brain cells is disrupted, thereby generating new strategies for rescuing them from becoming unhealthy and dying.”

Professor Luthi-Carter completed her studies in the USA, where she obtained a PhD in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences from Johns Hopkins University. She was subsequently appointed to a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University’s MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, and later the Brain Mind Institute at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Lausanne. In early 2012, she joined the University of Leicester as the Chair of Neurobiology of Behaviour.

Professor Luthi-Carter’s lecture ‘Deciphering molecular clues to better understand human neurodegenerative disease’ will take place on Tuesday 16 October at 5.30pm, in Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre 1 at the University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester.

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Professor Ruth Luthi-Carter on +44 (0)116 252 2925

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