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Wed 8th March, 2017
We are closer than ever before to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease thanks to the breakthrough research by Dr Bushra Ahmed in the School of Life Sciences.
Dr Ahmed’s breakthrough came in 2013 when she discovered that that brain cells (neurons) in patients with Parkinson’s disease die as they cannot detoxify the chemicals produced during metabolic reactions that are normally non-toxic in unaffected individuals.
“This research is undoubtedly a great leap forward in the race for a cure, as we can now begin to develop methods of protecting these areas and preventing the damage synonymous with this condition,” said Dr Ahmed.
Originally from Pakistan, Dr Ahmed, a Principal Lecturer in Biochemistry, Postgraduate Portfolio Leader, and Course Leader for MSc Pharmacology at Bedfordshire, has studied in Japan, the Netherlands and the USA, before joining the University in 2005.
“Being a woman was a minor problem earlier on. When I got a scholarship in America, the only reason I was not allowed to go alone was because I was a girl. My brother went abroad and was not stopped. My mum never differentiated between a girl or a boy but she was worried about the society,” recalls Dr Ahmed.
Dr Ahmed was also offered a scholarship in Japan and her mother eventually allowed her to go abroad.
The next step in Dr Ahmed’s work is to prevent the brain cells in Parkinson’s sufferers from dying by understanding the mechanism death of those specific type of neurons involved in controlling our movement and balance, which will lead us towards finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
“During my breakthrough I was just looking at one cell. That’s something that I’m working on. If I am able to save this one neuron, that means we are going to save lives,” said Dr Ahmed.
“That’s the goal of my life. So far, whatever I have planned, I have achieved.”