Professor Andrew Doig

Research and Development

Director and Professor of Biochemistry in the Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology, University of Manchester

Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by a small protein called amyloid-ß clumping together, becoming toxic and killing brain cells. We design and discover new drugs to reduce the toxicity of amyloid-ß and investigate how amyloid-ß affects cells. Drug discovery typically requires the identification of protein targets capable of eliciting a desired biological response. We have studied drug target proteins to identify properties that are desirable in human drug targets for different diseases. Machine learning is applied to find new genes that are involved in cancer or in mouse development. We use vibrational spectroscopy to characterise protein structure, focussing on antibodies, in particular.

Research on Alzheimer’s disease

At the University of Manchester, we design and discover new drugs to reduce the toxicity of amyloid-ß. We are finding out how amyloid-ß kills cells by measuring how the levels of all the proteins inside a cell change when the peptide is added. This will give new targets for future drugs and help with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Drugs are found by screening libraries of existing drugs and by using simulations.

Properties of Drug Target Proteins

Accurate identification of drug targets is a crucial part of any drug development program. We mined the human proteome to discover numerous properties of proteins that may be important in making them drug targets. Machine learning was used to develop methods that can predict the likelihood of any protein to be a drug target.

Using Vibrational Spectroscopy to Identify Protein Degradation

Many important proteins (antibodies in particular) lose activity by oxidation, aggregation or glycation. We use vibrational spectroscopy to detect this loss of activity via post-translational changes in protein structure.