College Wolfson College
Research Focus


  • Ageing
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Motor Neuron Disease
  • Dementia
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  • Animal Models
  • Clinical Conditions

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Dementia
  • Equipment & Techniques

  • Behavioural analysis
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Cell culture
  • Microscopy
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Calcium imaging
  • Science Culture

  • CamBRAIN
  • Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Open Access
  • Public Engagement
  • Public Outreach
  • Widening Participation
  • Back

    Dr Alex Whitworth

    University Position
    Programme Leader


    My lab is interested in understanding the mechanisms of mitochondrial homeostasis in relation to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and motor neuron disease. We use a combination of the powerful genetic techniques of Drosophila and molecular, cell biology and biochemical approaches in mammalian cells. Insights into these mechanisms will deliver a greater understanding of the role of mitochondrial maintenance in the health and dysfunction of the nervous system in a physiological context and will help guide therapeutic development to combat neurodegenerative diseases.

    Key Publications

    A cell-penetrant peptide blocking C9ORF72-repeat RNA nuclear export reduces the neurotoxic effects of dipeptide repeat proteins.

    Journal: Sci Transl Med
    E-pub date: 1 Mar 2023
    Authors: LM Castelli, Y-H Lin, A Sanchez-Martinez, A Gül, K Mohd Imran, A Higginbottom, SK Upadhyay, NM Márkus, R Rua Martins, J Cooper-Knock, C Montmasson, R Cohen, A Walton, CS Bauer, KJ De Vos, RJ Mead, M Azzouz, C Dominguez, L Ferraiuolo, PJ Shaw, AJ Whitworth, GM Hautbergue

    Parkin drives pS65-Ub turnover independently of canonical autophagy in Drosophila.

    Journal: EMBO Rep
    E-pub date: 6 Dec 2022
    Authors: JL Usher, A Sanchez-Martinez, A Terriente-Felix, P-L Chen, JJ Lee, C-H Chen, AJ Whitworth

    Comprehensive Genetic Characterization of Mitochondrial Ca2+ Uniporter Components Reveals Their Different Physiological Requirements In Vivo.

    Journal: Cell Rep
    E-pub date: 30 Apr 2019
    Authors: R Tufi, TP Gleeson, S von Stockum, VL Hewitt, JJ Lee, A Terriente-Felix, A Sanchez-Martinez, E Ziviani, AJ Whitworth


    USP8 inhibition promotes Parkin-independent mitophagy in theDrosophilabrain and in human neurons

    E-pub date: 1 Aug 2023
    Authors: S Mauri, G Bernardo, A Martinez, M Favaro, M Trevisan, G Cobraiville, M Fillet, F Caicci, A Whitworth, E Ziviani

    Mitochondrial CISD1/Cisd accumulation blocks mitophagy and genetic or pharmacological inhibition rescues neurodegenerative phenotypes inPink1/parkinmodels

    E-pub date: 1 Aug 2023
    Authors: A Martinez, A Sanchez-Martinez, J Pickering, M Twyning, A Terriente-Felix, P-L Chen, C-H Chen, A Whitworth

    Activation of the Keap1/Nrf2 pathway suppresses mitochondrial dysfunction in C9orf72 ALS/FTD in vivo models and patient iNeurons

    E-pub date: 1 Aug 2023
    Authors: WH Au, L Miller-Fleming, A Sanchez-Martinez, J Lee, M Twyning, H Prag, S Granger, K Roome, L Ferraiuolo, H Mortiboys, A Whitworth

    Antioxidant Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: Insights from Drosophila melanogaster.

    Journal: Antioxidants (Basel)
    E-pub date: 7 Jan 2020
    Authors: F De Lazzari, F Sandrelli, AJ Whitworth, M Bisaglia

    Axonal transport defects are a common phenotype in Drosophila models of ALS.

    Journal: Hum Mol Genet
    E-pub date: 15 Jun 2016
    Authors: KR Baldwin, VK Godena, VL Hewitt, AJ Whitworth