Philip Smethurst
Position: Alumni

Project: Is MND a prion disease?


Life in the Lab

I am a post doc in the lab and the focus of my research is on ‘TDP-43’ which is the most common abnormal protein found in the brains and spinal cord of patients with motor neuron disease. One idea is that this protein folds into an abnormal shape which adversely affects the motor neurons and cause them to die. It is thought that the protein acts in a similar way to a virus or bacteria, where it can replicate and spread throughout the brain causing the death of neurons. This is also how cells die in another type of brain disease called ‘prion disease’ an example you may have heard of is CJD. I am currently investigating whether or not the TDP-43 protein could work in a similar way by studying it in motor neuron cells in a dish.

Life outside the Lab

During my free time I like to compose and play contemporary/classical piano music. I also like to attend live music events and concerts. I also enjoy reading popular science literature, drawing, travelling and socialising with friends.

Rickie Patani

Lab Supervisor

Yiran Wang

Postdoctoral researcher

Jasmine Harley

PhD student

Helen Devine

PhD Student

Oliver Ziff

PhD student

Camilla Højland Knudsen

PhD student

Ben Clarke

Visiting PhD student

Viren Pandya

PhD student

Doaa Taha

PhD student

Jacob Neeves

PhD student