The Heineken Prize is among the most prestigious in the scientific community, and a recognition of lifetime achievement which is widely regarded as second only to a Nobel Prize. The award recognises Professor Dobson's achievements in helping to identify the root causes of so-called “modern” disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Professor Dobson is working to uncover the molecular processes that underlie a number of extremely devastating illnesses – among them Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and type II diabetes. In particular, his research is focused on a phenomenon whereby otherwise normal proteins sometimes “misfold” and trigger chain reactions in the body that ultimately cause the diseases. Such understanding may form the basis of future therapies based on rational design of innovative types of drugs.
Professor Dobson said: “It is clear that illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes are a consequence of the aberrant behaviour of our own proteins. And this behaviour is undoubtedly linked to the dramatic and rapid changes in lifestyles and lifespans of many people living in the modern world.”
“Understanding the principles behind these diseases is critical to avert the consequences for the future of their continued proliferation. And history tells us that breakthroughs in our knowledge of the origin and the reason for the progression of any disease is an essential precursor to the development of effective strategies for their prevention and treatment.”
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