Fundraiser’s visit inspires Dundee researchers
Published On Fri 8 Jun 2018 by Jonathan Watson
A charity trekker whose husband’s life was cut short by Parkinson’s disease has been hailed as an inspiration by University of Dundee researchers developing treatments for the condition.
Lyndsey Isaacs visited the University’s School of Life Sciences on Friday as she continues her 200-mile fundraising walk along Scotland’s coastline.
The initiative, taking in seaside stretches from Leven in Fife to Cape Wrath in Sutherland, has already raised more than £8,500 for The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, the charity focused on funding research with the potential to cure Parkinson’s, which was co-founded and led by her husband Tom who passed away last summer.
Inspired by a fundraising walk he undertook in 2002, Lyndsey took time out from the fifth day of her hike to meet with University staff to discuss their research and tour laboratories at the world-class facility.
Welcoming Lyndsey to the School’s Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit, Dr Miratul Muqit, Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow and Consultant Neurologist, said that such visits were hugely motivational for staff.
“The Cure Parkinson’s Trust is very supportive of the work that we are carrying out here at the School of Life Sciences,” he said.
“Tom supported the most innovative and promising scientific research to find a cure for Parkinson’s and his passing has been a big loss to the research community.
“Here at Dundee we are using cutting-edge techniques to understand the function of key enzymes that are faulty in heritable forms of Parkinson’s. Our recent advances have identified their functions in cells and current research is focused on translating this knowledge for better diagnosing and treating the disease.
“Lyndsey’s walk is inspiring for all of the staff here and helps to reinforce our determination to find new treatments for Parkinson’s.”
Tom Isaacs was just 49 when he died having lived for more than 20 years with Parkinson’s, a progressive degenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure.
Between 2002 and 2003, Tom circumnavigated 4,500 miles of Britain’s coastline as part of a fundraising initiative to find a cure for the disease, before co-founding The Cure Parkinson’s Trust in 2005.
In tribute to her husband, Lyndsey has undertaken a fundraising walk between Fife and Sutherland over 12 days, joined by close friend Hanya Chlala and her Labrador Indi.
Friday’s leg of the ‘Four Feet, Four Paws For Parkinson’s’ challenge saw the trio walk from Wormit Bay to Newburgh, allowing the group to visit Dundee’s School of Life Sciences to learn more about the world-leading research being undertaken by University staff.
Last year, scientists identified the structure of a key enzyme that protects the brain against Parkinson’s, the culmination of a decade of work, while in April a new partnership was announced that will see experts from Dundee team up with counterparts from Edinburgh University.
The Dundee-Edinburgh Parkinson’s Research Initiative aims to probe the causes of the disease and translate scientific discoveries into new therapies.
Praising the quality of research being carried out at Dundee, Lyndsey said, “I knew I wanted to continue to raise funds and support The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, the charity which meant so much to Tom.
“He and I met when he was about to set off on his walk in 2002, and this feels like the right way to remember him.
“We are thrilled to also be able to visit the researchers at the University of Dundee along the way and learn about the incredible Parkinson’s research they have carried out, as well as what they have planned for the future.”
Anybody wishing to donate to Lyndsey’s fundraising walk can do so online.
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