Richard’s group is interested in the biology of neurodegenerative disorders. We have a particular focus on understanding how the nervous system responds to the DNA damage that accumulates in neurological disorders. Damage accumulates in both long-term, chronic disorders such as neurodegeneration and after acute trauma affecting the nervous system, such as stroke. We are focussed on understanding why activating the DNA damage responses can be toxic to neurons with the aim of developing therapies to support the nervous system in patients with neurological disorders.
We use a range of Drosophila models of neurological disease to help address these questions. These include models of common late-onset neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (motor neurone disease), and also inherited early-onset disorders such as ataxia-telangiectasia and neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (Batten disease). With partners we also use models of acute trauma to the nervous system to identify features that are common to all neurological disease that may be good targets for therapy.