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Centre for Misfolding Diseases


8 September 2019
Tributes paid after death of Professor Sir Christopher Dobson

20 December 2018
Researchers identify a tau homeostasis signature that underlies Alzheimer’s disease

7 May 2018
Brain cholesterol associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease

15 April 2018
The Enemy Within: A new documentary

A new documentary made for Australian television explores the life of Dr Justin Yerbury and his fight against Motor Neurone Disease, both in his research and personal life.

The film entitled The Enemy Within and made by ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) tells the remarkable and moving story of Justin Yerbury and his quest to understand the nature of Motor Neurone Disease (MDN), a condition that has led to the deaths of many members of his family and that has now put Justin himself in a wheelchair.

Justin has worked closely for well over a decade with scientists at the Centre of Misfolding Diseases in Cambridge University, and has been inspired by meeting and receiving support from Professor Stephen Hawking, who suffered from the same condition for some 50 years, and who introduces Justin’s story.

The documentary can be viewed on the ABC: Australian Story webpage here

Dr Justin Yerbury is a Senior Research Fellow at Wollongong University where he works on the origin and progression of MND, also known as ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). He collaborates closely with members of the Centre for Misfolding Diseases that is located in the Department of Chemistry, and is directed by Professors Chris Dobson, Tuomas Knowles and Michele Vendruscolo.

The work of the Centre is focused on enhancing our knowledge of the family of amyloid-related disorders that are associated with protein misfolding and aggregation, a group of approximately fifty conditions that includes ALS in addition to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and type II diabetes. The ultimate objective of the Centre is to develop rational means for their diagnosis and treatment; at present there are no highly effective therapies or means of prevention for any of these conditions.

Justin first visited Cambridge in 2006, when he was a PhD student in Professor Mark Wilson’s laboratory at Wollongong, and he collaborated in particular with Dr Janet Kumita and Chris Dobson on the biological role of clusterin, an extracellular molecular chaperone that has been associated with the regulation of protein misfolding and aggregation. He found that clusterin interacts with the intermediate species populated during the process of the pathogenic aggregation, and helps to suppress the generation of the toxic species that are thought to be the driving forces behind these conditions.

Since then Justin has increasingly focused his attention on the nature and means of progression of ALS, and has visited Cambridge regularly, including spending a sabbatical leave here investigating the molecular origins of this disease. On his last visit, in April 2017, Justin was accompanied by his wife and by his two daughters, and although he was already significantly affected by the progression of the disease they were all able to visit Stephen Hawking. Justin also joined a meeting of the Centre during this visit, as he continued to work on his scientific objectives and has recently completed several joint scientific papers as well as planning further studies supported by joint grants.

The film describes Justin’s life and career and it provides a compelling illustration of why we concentrate our efforts towards research in this area at the Centre, and pays tribute to the courage of Justin and his family and to his continuing efforts to understand the molecular basis of the MND and related conditions.

The documentary can be viewed on the ABC: Australian Story webpage here

14 Dec 2017
Critical toxic species behind Parkinson’s Disease is glimpsed at work for the first time.

27 Oct 2017
Stephen Hawking endorses new £50 million centre.

25 Mar 2017
£5 million gift will help fight Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

17 Jan 2017
Squalamine could lead to treatments for Parkinson's disease.

10 Nov 2016
Gift makes microfabrication laboratory a reality.

21 Sep 2016
Dementia: Catching the memory thief (Cambridge Ideas).

10 Aug 2016
Gene signature in healthy brains pinpoints the origins of Alzheimer’s disease.

10 Aug 2016
New research hints at pattern of Alzheimer's spread in the brain (The Guardian).

16 Feb 2016
Researchers identify 'neurostatin' that can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

13 Feb 2016
Alzheimer's preventative drug hope (BBC).

25 Mar 2015
Cambridge's Chemistry of Health programme awarded £17 million in funding.

16 Feb 2015
A molecular inhibitor breaks cycle that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.

02 Feb 2015
Protein threshold linked to Parkinson’s Disease.

Proliferation of amyloid-β42 aggregates occurs through a secondary nucleation mechanism" - See more at:

21 May 2013
Proliferation of amyloid-beta-42 aggregates occurs through a secondary nucleation mechanism.


Researchers identify ‘neurostatin’ that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease - See more at:
Scientists identify molecular trigger for Alzheimer’s disease - See more at: