Dundee Parkinson's Research Campaign - Professor Miratul Muqit

Published on 3 August 2019

The Dundee Parkinson’s Campaign is undoubtedly ambitious, but the University has never shied away from a challenge, particularly when it comes to world-leading research

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The Dundee Parkinson’s Campaign is undoubtedly ambitious, but the University has never shied away from a challenge, particularly when it comes to world-leading research.

The embodiment of this spirit is Professor Miratul Muqit, whose work at Dundee has revolutionised the way Parkinson’s disease is studied. Since joining the University in 2008 his laboratory has been responsible for revealing the secrets of PINK1, a gene which when mutated is a known cause of Parkinson’s.

“In the past I’ve often been given career advice to follow well-trodden paths by clinicians, but I have always tended to make up my own mind to go where the best research opportunities lie,” he says.

“That’s what brought me to Dundee originally and my work with PINK1.”

Professor Muqit studied at the University of Edinburgh, Harvard University, and University College London, where he was a major part of the team that discovered PINK1 kinase mutations in Parkinson’s disease. Today, he is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Science and a Programme Leader at Dundee’s Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU). He is also an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at NHS Tayside’s Ninewells Hospital.

He continues, “The discovery of PINK1 as a cause of Parkinson’s has allowed us to understand how a key stress pathway operates in brain cells and why those affected develop the disease. We have already made several advances that have given us answers about the mechanisms that contribute to brain cells being lost.”

The significance and quality of Professor Muqit’s research has resulted in him receiving some of the scientific community’s most prestigious accolades. These include the Royal College of Physicians’ Goulstonian Lecture and the Royal Society’s Francis Crick Medal and Lecture in 2018. While honoured by the recognition of his peers, Professor Muqit insists that it is the will of the patients suffering from Parkinson’s that drives him and his team.

“We do feel a sense of responsibility to those we are trying to help,” he continues.

“We push the boat out, work harder to get data and prove that the data is correct. We also publish our work using open access journals so our peers can ensure that it holds up. We know that other researchers will use what we find to aid their own studies, so we go above and beyond to ensure that everything we do here is validated.

“Parkinson’s is a subtle disease and can take decades to declare itself in patients. Having the latest equipment accelerates our research progress and, therefore, is incredibly important. But it is not just machines that can help us. Research moves faster with the best minds and having the funds to bring in new blood and expertise would really synergise with what is already happening here.

“The Dundee Parkinson’s Campaign will build upon the expertise that we already have here and help us to invest in the cutting-edge technology that is so important in frontline science. That technology is always improving and our research would benefit immeasurably from having it here.”

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Press Office, University of Dundee

Story category Public interest, Research