Major grant awarded to new professor to discover how to design new medicines for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

Professor Andrew Tobin, an expert in protein receptors in the brain whose research is focused on the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, will join the University of Glasgow’s College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (MVLS) in September.

Professor Tobin, formerly of the University of Leicester, will also bring his research team to the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology to further strengthen his collaborations with world-leading researchers here and in other institutions around the world.‌

To continue his ground breaking work, he has recently been awarded a £4.2M Wellcome Collaborative Award – funding which will allow for research into the design of the next generation of drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).‌AndrewTobin450

The Wellcome award has been given in collaboration with researchers at Monash University in Melbourne Australia (Professors Arthur Christopoulos and Patrick Sexton) and Eli Lilly & Company. The £4.2M will fund the team’s research for more than five years, beginning in November, to use state-of-the-art technologies and approaches to discover new ways to make better drugs for the treatment of AD.

Professor Tobin said: “I am very excited to bring my research group to the University of Glasgow. The world leading researchers here provide the ideal environment to perform ground-breaking research aimed at transforming how we treat human disease.

"The collaborative award from Wellcome allows my group to work with the very best researchers from across the world, to work out how we can design better drugs to treat AD."

Professor Tobin and his collaborators Professors Christopoulos and Sexton will focus their research on proteins in the brain called receptors, which are involved in receiving the messages that result in us ‘laying down’ and retrieving memories. In AD this process is destroyed, leading to memory loss. By designing drugs that target specific receptor proteins called muscarinic receptors, the team believe that they can restore memory loss in diseases such as AD.

Professor Tobin said: "By working with my colleagues in Australia and across the world together with the pharmaceutical company Lilly, we hope that we can make a significant contribution to the development of new drugs to treat the symptoms of AD.

"We have been working with Dr Christian Felder, Research Fellow at Lilly, for a number of years and this Wellcome Collaborative Award will allow us to significantly extend our collaboration, bringing in invaluable expertise of drug development and design.”

Dr Felder said: "The possibility of discovering and developing effective treatments for devastating neurodegenerative diseases such as AD will be significantly enhanced through high calibre external academic partnerships such as our relationship with Professor Tobin and Professor Christopoulos and their talented lab teams."

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Professor Tobin, together with Professor Graeme Milligan of the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, will lead the newly established Centre for Translational Pharmacology at the University. This centre is aimed at understanding how human diseases such as AD and schizophrenia and other diseases, including osteoarthritis and asthma, arise, and how best to make drugs to treat these diseases.

Professor Graeme Milligan said: "I'm excited to welcome Andrew to Glasgow, both to deepen our current joint BBSRC-funded projects and to develop the Centre for Translational Pharmacology, but more importantly to engage his enthusiasm and excellence to develop a range of new and exciting collaborations with other University of Glasgow teams across a wide range of topics and disciplines."

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, Vice Principal and Head of the College of MVLS, said: "I am delighted to be welcoming Professor Tobin and his highly-esteemed team to the University. I am thrilled that they have chosen Glasgow to continue their ground-breaking research.

"I’m sure I speak for the whole team in the College, as well as the Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology when I say we look forward to working with Professor Tobin and to the many exciting achievements to come from him and his team."


ali.howard@glasgow.ac.uk or elizabeth.mcmeekin@glasgow.ac.uk // 0141 330 6557/4831

First published: 12 August 2016

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