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Cambridge Biosciences DTP PhD Programme


Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR)

Research theme: Bioscience for an integrated understanding of health


Hi I’m Jess, a 3rd year PhD student in the Gershlick lab at CIMR and a member of Downing College. I studied for my BSc (Hons) Biochemistry degree at the University of Bath, where I developed a keen interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms of protein trafficking and degradation. As part of my degree, I spent a year at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the Protein Degradation Department, focused on the development of Protein Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) to induce proteasomal degradation of traditionally undruggable targets. In my spare time I enjoy playing rugby and rowing. I am also the MCR Welfare and Education Officer for the postgraduate community at Downing. 


Project Title:

Investigating the molecular mechanism of Alzheimer’s Disease

Project Summary: 

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is characterised by two neuropathological features: the accumulation of intracellular Tau protein tangles and extracellular amyloid-β (Aβ) deposits. AD is the most common cause of dementia globally and is associated with severe cognitive decline and memory deficits. Despite AD affecting more than 55 million people worldwide (WHO, September 2021), there is currently no cure or preventative treatment. Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) is a transmembrane protein and the precursor to toxic Aβ fragments that accumulate in AD plaques. Mutations affecting APP trafficking and cleavage are causal for AD; however, the molecular mechanisms underpinning APP trafficking are complex and unclear. 

My project focuses on developing a better understanding of the trafficking and cleavage of APP, using a combination of molecular biology, biochemistry and super resolution imaging techniques. We have developed a novel, quantitative processing assay to monitor APP cleavage events at the single cell level. Using this assay we have identified amino acid motifs important for  APP trafficking as well as novel APP interactors. We hope that this study will elucidate the complex molecular machinery involved in APP trafficking and assist in the identification of new therapeutic targets to treat AD.


Key publications: 

Nunes, J., McGonagle, G. A., Eden, J., Kiritharan, G., Touzet, M., Lewell, X., Emery, J., Eidam, H., Harling, J. D., & Anderson, N. A. (2019). Targeting IRAK4 for Degradation with PROTACs. ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 10(7).

Teaching and Supervisions

Research supervision: 

Dr David Gershlick

Staff Photo

Contact Details

Job Titles

PhD Student