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Stephen Norton

PhD Project:

Linear dichroism and neurotoxic mechanisms of amyloid proteins

This project attempts to understand how amyloid proteins cause death of neurones in conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. By understanding the interaction of monomeric alpha-Synuclein with membranes, I hope to gain insights into which mechanism kills cells in the substantia nigra. Membrane interactions are believed to be crucial in toxic mechanisms, and we employ circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopy to monitor binding. Also used is, the increasingly popular, linear dichroism, one major aspect of the project being to improve the reproducability of LD measurements.


This project appealed because it allowed me to persue my interest in biomedical science, as well as involve more biophysical techniques. There has also been opportunity to include geometrical calculations, in fluid dynamics fields, while trying to understand the effect of flow on lipid vesicles.

I have been the Secretary of the MOAC SSLC, and at a different time, my year's representative to them. I've started a squash club for MOAC and SysBio students (link to facebook group).

Conferences attended during PhD: MOAC DTC conference, 2011, 2012, 2013. MOAC/Imperial College Inter-DTC conference 2011, 2012, 2013. UoW SLS PGR Symposium 2012, 2013; Poster prize 2013. CD/LD and Biophysics of self-assembling peptides and fibrous proteins meeting, 2011; Parkinson's UK Research conference, 2012; Protein Society Annual Symposium, 2013.

Successes and achievements: Poster prize, 2013 University of Warwick SLS PGR symposium. Winner, 2013 Syngenta Workshop, BiotechnologyYES.


MOAC Mini-Projects:

Experimental Biology: Motorization of Centrosome Separation

Experimental Chemistry: DNA Architecture switching by azobenzene

Theoretical: Understanding biocompatibility through Molecular Dynamics simulations

My University career before MOAC:

BSc from Lancaster University in Biomedicine and Medical Statistics:

Studied a range of statistical techniques and biological subjects including: genetics, immunology, parasitology, clinical trials, chronic diseases and survival.

Dissertation project: Designing an artificial cornea.

I worked on the executive committee of The County College Junior Common Room as Sports Rep, and at various times during my degree I was part of the squash club, volleyball club, running club, and college pool team.

Research Project at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine:

Modelling the epidemiology of trypanosomiases.


Departments of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and MOAC Doctoral Training Centre,

University of Warwick,