Amberley’s research focuses on understanding how and why a protein called α-synuclein becomes aggregated in the neurons of Parkinson’s Disease patients. α-synuclein is an intrinsically disordered protein, meaning it has no defined structure and is soluble.
However, in Parkinson’s Disease α-synuclein becomes structured and these structures form building blocks which assemble to form insoluble aggregates. She studies the structures that α-synuclein takes at the very early stages in the aggregation pathway. She is interested in how the surrounding cellular environment can influence the α-synuclein structures formed, particularly focused on how α-synuclein interacts with ions, water and lipids and how these change as cells age.
With information on the changing cellular environment during aging and structural information of α-synuclein early in the aggregation pathway, she hopes the design of theraputics can be more targeted to these structures or to stabilising the cellular environment.
Amberley is a Senior Research Associateat the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.