Information TN2 Webinar – November 25, 2021

TN2 Webinar on Neurodegeneration


Presentation by Anouk Rijs, professor of Analytics of Biomolecular Interactions in the Division of BioAnalytical Chemistry, VU Amsterdam.

Title:  Novel advances in structural characterization methods: Understanding, probing and controlling neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s Disease
Abstract: Parkinson’s Disease is the fastest growing neurological disorder with more than 12 million people worldwide to be expected living with this disease by 2040. Similar to other neurodegenerative diseases, PD is hallmarked by the accumulation of proteins, thereby forming insoluble amyloid fibrils. Since neurodegenerative toxicity originates from the conformational intermediates formed along the aggregation pathway, our goal is to understand the complex mechanism of amyloid-forming polypeptides at the molecular level. However, at this point there are no analytical method which allows us to resolve this complexity and to probe the early-stages of the aggregation process.

That is why, we are developing new methodologies which are able to identify, track and structurally characterize key species present in any heterogenous sample at each point in time. This technology will also be ideal to screen potential aggregation inhibitors to stop or direct the self-assembly process. A novel holistic inhibitor screening workflow combining C. Elegans and our developed analytical platform is currently been set-up. Here, I will present how we use our analytical chemistry developments to address these aspects related to Parkinson’s disease and how these tools can even be used to separate and identify unique chemical signatures of sebum for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

Presentation by Monty Silverdale, professor of Neurology, specialized in Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, Manchester University.

Title: Diagnosing the Scent of Parkinson’s with Mass Spectrometry and Joy
Abstract: Joy Milne, a ‘super-smeller’ from Edinburgh, noticed an unusual musky smell on her husband Les, 12 years before he developed Parkinson’s disease (PD). This chance finding suggested that skin chemicals may be altered in PD. We performed a large study using mass spectrometry to analyse metabolites from skin swabs of Parkinson’s disease and control participants across the UK. Our results demonstrate altered skin chemicals in PD which we hope will enable us to develop a simple skin swab test for PD. We also plan to investigate prodromal participants to determine if we can use a simple skin swab to diagnose PD much earlier than is currently possible. I will tell the amazing story of Joy and how her nose may lead to improved treatments in PD.