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Iona Thomas-Wright

DPhil Student

Research Project

đœ¶-synuclein is a small protein which mis-folds and aggregates in the brains of patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD). These aggregates are toxic to stem-cell derived human neurons and in animal models. A particular characteristic of đœ¶-synuclein is the ability of mis-folded forms to spread between cells and template the misfolding and aggregation of previously normal protein, contributing to disease spread. In this project I am using iPSC-derived dopamine neurons to identify the cellular mechanisms by which pathological forms of đœ¶-synuclein are released from neurons.


I graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2021 with a First Class (Hons) degree in Neuroscience. My undergraduate thesis was in the lab of Dr Angeleen Fleming working on an in vivo fluorescent reporter of autophagic flux. During my time at Cambridge I also worked in Prof Sir David Klenerman's lab using super resolution microscopy to image đœ¶-synuclein oligomers. I then completed my MSc in Neuroscience at Oxford for which I was delighted to be awarded the Sherrington Prize in 2022. My masters rotations were in the Wade-Martins and Talbot labs using iPSC-derived neurons to investigate molecular mechanisms in Parkinson's Disease and Motor Neuron Disease respectively.