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Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Research interests

Our research focuses on proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and the so called prion diseases. Prion diseases include the notorious Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and the human diseases vCJD, sporadic CJD and Fatal Familial Insomnia. However, despite the concern about these disease the prion protein is a harmless neuronal protein expressed in all vertebrates. Our group is concerned with the normal function of this protein. The prion protein is a copper binding protein which appears to be involved in cellular resistance to oxidative stress. Only when the protein is converted to an abnormal isoform is it capable of inducing neuronal death. Alpha-synuclein can also be converted to a toxic form by its interaction with copper. We are currently studying the mechanism of this process.

Protein Studies

Research from our group has been instrumental in showing that the prion protein is a copper binding protein. Our current research includes new directions to study other metal binding proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases. We have been studying the synuclein family of proteins and the copper and iron binding abilities. We are further investigating the metal binding of these proteins using exciting techniques such isothermal titration calorimetry, EPR and cyclic voltammetry. In particular, the redox chemistry of these proteins on binding metals is important to determine, as all three diseases are associated with oxidative damage to the brain.

Cell Studies

We also use cell culture to investigate the function of proteins such as alpha-synuclein and APP. We have recently shown that alpha-synuclein is active in cells to reduce iron to Fe(II). We are investigating the further implications of this exciting breakthrough.

Current Funding

  • Alzheimer's Research UK


  • Dr. Jennifer McDowall
  • Hazel Roberts 

Willing to supervise PhD

Professor Brown welcomes any enquires regarding Ph.D. opportunities. The group is also open to collaborations with other researchers or industrial partners. 

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
alpha-Synuclein Medicine & Life Sciences
Copper Medicine & Life Sciences
Prion Diseases Medicine & Life Sciences
Prions Chemical Compounds
Metals Medicine & Life Sciences
Manganese Medicine & Life Sciences
beta-Synuclein Medicine & Life Sciences
Neurodegenerative Diseases Medicine & Life Sciences

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Projects 2004 2020

Research Output 2000 2018

Altered Processing of Beta-amyloid in SH-SY5Y cells induced by Model Senescent Microglia.

Angelova, D. & Brown, D., 27 Jul 2018, In : ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Aging of materials
Neurodegenerative diseases
2 Citations (Scopus)

Levels of α- and β-synuclein regulate cellular susceptibility to toxicity from α-synuclein oligomers

Angelova, D., Jones, H. & Brown, D., 1 Feb 2018, In : FASEB Journal. 32, 2, p. 995-1006 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Model Senescent Microglia Induce Disease Related Changes in Alpha-synuclein Expression and Activity

Angelova, D. & Brown, D., 1 Aug 2018, In : Biomolecules. 8, 3, 67.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Neurodegenerative diseases
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Conditioned Culture Medium
5 Citations (Scopus)

Alpha-synuclein ferrireductase activity is detectible in vivo, is altered in Parkinson's disease and increases the neurotoxicity of DOPAL

McDowall, J. S., Ntai, I., Honeychurch, K. C., Hart, J. P., Colin, P., Schneider, B. L. & Brown, D., 1 Dec 2017, In : Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 85, p. 1-11 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Parkinson Disease
Dopaminergic Neurons
Substantia Nigra

Metals and Prions: Twenty years of mining the awe

Brown, D., 28 Apr 2017, Biometals in Neurodegenerative Diseases: Mechanisms and Therapeutics. White, A. R., Aschner, M., Costa, L. G. & Bush, A. I. (eds.). London, U. K.: Elsevier Academic Press Inc, p. 95-115

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Inducing Age Related Changes in Microglia as a Model for Neurodegenerative Disease

Author: Angelova, D., 13 Feb 2019

Supervisor: Williams, R. (Supervisor) & Brown, D. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD