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Royal Society award enables University researcher to study neurodegenerative disease

Professor Pete Cullen

15 January 2021

Professor Peter Cullen, a Wellcome Trust Investigator from the School of Biochemistry at the University of Bristol, has been awarded the Royal Society Noreen Murray Professorship to expand his research into neurological sciences.

The award, announced today [15 January] as part of seven research professorships from the Royal Society, will allow Professor Cullen to apply his expertise in endosomal sorting to understand why defects in protein and lipid transport lead to the development of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

To function normally, all human cells must efficiently transport thousands of different proteins and lipids. When such transport is perturbed, the function of cells is adversely affected leading to a range of human disease that include neurodegenerative disease.

Professor Cullen will establish new experimental approaches to generate insights into these transport defects, with the ultimate aim of assisting in the design of therapeutic strategies to alleviate and manage the symptoms of these neurological diseases.

Professor Cullen, who is based in the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: "This award could not have come at a more opportune time. There is a growing appreciation that deregulation of protein and lipid transport lies at the heart of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The freedom afforded by the award will allow me to translate my laboratory's expertise in studying these transport events towards understanding how their de-regulation leads to neurodegenerative disease."

The Research Professorships help release these exceptional researchers from competing duties, such as teaching and administration, allowing them to focus on ambitious and original research of the highest quality. The awards also enable distinguished, international research talent to relocate to a UK academic institution.

Dame Linda Partridge DBE, FRS, FRSE, FMedSci Biological Secretary of the Royal Society, said: "We are delighted to have appointed seven Royal Society Research Professorships this year. It is becoming more important to enable world-leading talent such as these exceptional scientists. By offering long term support to carry out exciting and visionary research, these scientists will contribute to and strengthen the continued success of UK science."

Further information

About the Royal Society

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society's fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. 

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