Dr. Martin WestwellThe BBC article Alzheimer’s “self-defense found” said
International experts found a brain enzyme that “snips apart” tangles of a protein linked to a decline in mental abilities and brain cell death.
The scientists said that, in the future, drugs could be used to enhance this natural defence mechanism.
Dr Martin Westwell, deputy director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind, Oxford University, said: “The jury is still out on whether tau actually causes Alzheimer’s disease.
“But, should it prove to be the case, then this study and the models they use should prove important in furthering our understanding of Alzheimer’s and perhaps helping us to take steps forward towards a therapy.”
Son of an electrician in the North of England,
Martin Westwell, Ph.D. studied
for his degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and stayed
to complete his PhD in biological chemistry, doing research on how
medicines work in the body.
Martin then moved to Oxford University where he was a research fellow in biological and medical sciences, lecturing, tutoring and examining in the chemistry and biochemistry courses. At Oxford, he became fascinated by neuroscience and went to run the research program at Synaptica, a biotech drug-discovery spin-out company from the University looking for drugs to treat neurogenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Martin has worked with a number of organizations on education and science-and-society projects and has won a number of awards for his science communication activities including receiving The Times/Novartis Scientists for the New Century award in 1999. He returned to Oxford in 2005 to take up his current position as Deputy Director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind, part of the James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford University. The institute works towards its goal of determining how we might harness new technologies to maximize the potential of each individual and safeguard their individuality.
Read The Scientist of the Future, Slow Down, Brave Multitasker, and Don’t Read This in Traffic, and Are cellphones and the internet rewiring our brains?.