News and events


University of Westminster scientists lead on important Parkinson's research

19 November 2013

A team of research scientists led by the University of Westminster have recently published work that illuminates one of the functions of a protein responsible for an early onset form of Parkinson's disease.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (Puno et al, 21 October,, has examined how the protein, DJ-1, is able to bind copper within human cells.  High levels of copper are thought to contribute to neurodegeneration, and DJ-1 has recently been shown to protect cells from copper toxicity (work published by Professor Simon Moller (New York/Stavanger)). 

In collaboration with Professors Dame Carol Robinson (Oxford), Peter Moody (Leicester) and Simon Moller, the Westminster team led by Dr Mark Odell and Rhyan Puno has revealed the molecular mechanism for the copper protective role of DJ-1.  Their work illuminates how mutations in DJ-1, associated with early-onset Parkinsonism, cause a loss of the ability to protect cells from the adverse effects of copper. 

The work, led by Westminster scientists, has been highlighted by the Royal Society of Chemistry for its understanding of the role of DJ-1 in Parkinson's.

About the University of Westminster:

The University of Westminster boasts a vibrant learning environment attracting more than 20,000 students from over 150 nations and we continue to invest in our future with new developments, research projects and new ideas.

We offer highly attractive practice-based courses that are independently rated as excellent, many with international recognition. Our distinguished 180-year history has meant we lead the way in many areas of research, particularly politics, media, art and design, architecture and biomedical sciences, and our position in the city of London allows us to continue to build on our close connections with leading figures and organisations in these areas as well as in the worlds of business, information technology, politics and law.

Our commitment to educating graduates for the needs of professional life attracts high quality students from within the UK and around the globe.

Internationalisation, employability and sustainability are key elements in the University of Westminster’s vision for the future and we strive to ensure the very highest standards are met and maintained.

For the media

For the media

Here we hope you find everything you will need to research, write and publish your story or blog post.