Research Projects

Detecting amyloid in action

Steven Quinn

Awarded to:
Dr Steven Quinn

Current award:

University of York

12 September 2019 - 11 September 2022

Full project name:

Single-Molecule Fluorescence Detection of Amyloid in Action






Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia accounting for two-thirds of all cases.

The build-up of a protein called amyloid around nerve cells in the brain is a biological hallmark of disease.

However exactly how this build-up of protein causes damage is still not clear.

In this research, Dr Quinn, will investigate how fragments of the amyloid protein, interact with and puncture, cell membranes.

This will help improve understanding about how this process contributes to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

This is a highly interdisciplinary research project and will provide real-time readouts of Alzheimer’s disease on the extremely small scale.

Improving our understanding of how proteins cause damage in the cell, it will guide efforts to develop new ways to help people with the disease.

What will they do?

Dr Quinn will combine developments in microscope technology with innovative test-tube experiments to see whether smaller protein fragments are able to disrupt the cell membrane during Alzheimer’s disease.

He will see which amyloid fragments are the most disruptive and will help determine the sequence of events that lead to damage.

A microscope technique called FRET will enable Dr Quinn to identify how strongly two molecules interact.

This will help him to understand how toxic proteins like amyloid cause the gradual leakage of vital cellular contents.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes dementia. It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about two-thirds of cases in older people.

what is alz image