Press release

Public support enables new tech to aid Parkinson’s research

Published on 18 April 2023

Researchers at the University of Dundee have thanked members of the public who funded the purchase of new technology that could lead to new treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

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Scientists at the University’s Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU) have been able to install a state-of-the-art liquid chromatography system after receiving support from a dedicated fundraising campaign.

The equipment will allow experts to break down complex protein samples, allowing them to analyse the impact of Parkinson’s disease on a person’s cells and tissues. It is hoped that a greater understanding of this will allow researchers to eventually develop life-changing therapies and treatments for those living with the condition.

Dr Andy Howden, Senior Research Scientist, said, “Researchers trying to understand Parkinson’s disease study the proteins that are packed into our cells and tissues. This is incredibly complex work, with thousands of different proteins within a single cell, and millions of copies of proteins.

 “To study the complex mixture of proteins in detail we must first separate the protein samples into more manageable parts. The new liquid chromatography system will allow us to do this.

“We can then take these parts and look at which proteins are there and in what quantities. We then see whether there are differences between someone with Parkinson’s disease and a healthy person.

“The liquid chromatography system will be a critical piece of equipment in the Parkinson’s research lab and will become a valuable asset in our quest to unlock the mysteries of this horrendous condition.”

Parkinson’s disease is a disabling neurodegenerative illness which has no cure. The most successful drug to manage Parkinson’s – Levodopa - was developed 60 years ago, but since then there has been no major breakthrough in the management or treatment of the disease. Every week, 30 people in Scotland are diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

The University is already a leading centre for Parkinson’s research, hosting world-renowned experts who are dedicated to improving our understanding of the condition. Their efforts are backed by the Dundee Parkinson’s Research Campaign, which was launched in 2019 to establish the University as the global centre for Parkinson’s research, and which has provided the funding for this latest purchase.

“It is hard to state just how important the work being done here at Dundee could have in improving lives here in Scotland and around the world,” added Dr Howden.

“Parkinson’s is a cruel illness. It affected my own father for more than 20 years, so I am aware of just how important it is that we can help those who live with the disease today.

“Having public backing for our work is crucial and everyone here is extremely grateful to the generous donors who support our work and have made the purchase of this latest technology possible.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about or donate to the Dundee Parkinson’s Research Campaign can do so online.


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489