Connect and collaborate Parkinson’s outreach event in the School of Life Sciences
Published on 29 November 2022
Parkinson’s UK leadership team and people affected by the disease visited the University of Dundee to meet with local researchers to get an overview of the work that they do.
On November 7 of this year, the Parkinson’s UK’s leadership team including CEO Caroline Rassell, Deputy director of research Professor David Dexter and the new Scotland director James Jopling visited the Parkinson’s research team at the University of Dundee. In the morning, researchers from Dundee including Professor Dario Alessi, Dr. Paul Davies, Professor Miratul Muqit, Dr. Andy Howden, Professor Ian Ganley and Dr. Esther Sammler, from Aberdeen Professor Bettina Platt and Julie Jones, from St. Andrews Doris Chen and from Edinburgh, Professor Tilo Kunath gave an overview of their work.
The afternoon was all about public & patient outreach and research engagement. In Scotland and in particular Dundee, we are fortunate to closely interact with the Parkinson’s UK Research Interest Groups and local communities, but we were nevertheless overwhelmed by the interest in our event. It started off with tea and coffee before Dr. Sara Gomes, Dr. Andy Howden and Dr. Will Farnaby took our guests on 3 parallel lab tours through state-of-the-art mass-spectrometry facilities, the drug discovery unit, tissue culture suites and pit stops for discussions with scientists in their work environment on the bench. The tours were followed by talks by Professor Dario Alessi on the long journey from basic science to clinical trials exemplified by LRRK2. This was then followed by John Michelson with an overview of the Scottish research interest groups with past and future activities as well as Professor David Dexter on Parkinson’s UK’s ambitions, research strategy and funding opportunities. Dr. Brendan Howden from the Dundee Research Group chaired this session and ensured that there was enough time for questions and lively discussion. It was a busy but hugely successful day and the feedback received so far – from undergraduate students to senior scientists as well as from people affected by Parkinson’s from near and afar – has been wonderful! Open dialogue between scientists, clinicians and the public ensure that our research is relevant, trusted – also in terms of research and clinical trial participation - and with the added side effect that it is hugely motivating! We are looking forward to our next events! Special thanks go to Jo and Brendan Hawdon from DRIG as well as Alison Hart from the MRC PPU and Liz Nash from Parkinson’s UK.