Dr Priyanka Joshi
Fellow in Biochemistry

Everitt Butterfield Research Fellow in Biochemistry

MSc in Biotechnology (University of Pune), PhD Biophysics (University of Cambridge)

Intrinsically Disordered Proteins, Protein Aggregation, Drug Discovery, Metabolic Homeostasis in Neurodegeneration.

Dr Joshi is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Misfolding Diseases at the Department of Chemistry, where she is investigating the role of metabolites on the aggregation of proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease. Using biophysical techniques and a Caenorhabditis elegans (worm) model of disease, she is interrogating the link between metabolic homeostasis and protein homeostasis in neurodegeneration.

During her PhD, under the guidance of Prof Michele Vendruscolo, she developed a small molecule drug-like library to target the aggregation of intrinsically disordered proteins, in particular the aggregation of Aβ, whose abnormal aggregation is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. The approach that Priyanka pioneered involves the use of fragment-based drug discovery to identify small molecules capable of binding the monomeric precursors of the toxic protein aggregates responsible for the death of neuronal cells. This problem is extraordinarily difficult, and indeed until very recently, because of the absence of a well-defined three-dimensional structure, these proteins were considered as ‘undruggable’.

Combining her research interests, Priyanka is trying to understand the metabolic signatures of brain cells, their metabolic interactions that could potentially modulate protein aggregation; the ultimate goal being to use metabolic manipulation as a possible therapeutic tool in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Lecturer for Part II Undergraduate Course on Proteins (Structure and Stability), Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge (Co-lectured with Dr Paul Barker in Lent 2017, Prof Sophie Jackson in 2018)

Undergraduate Supervisions: Part IB Chemical Biology

Science outreach to kids, Experimental Theatre, Flamenco.

Salje Medal for the Best PhD in Sciences 2015, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow 2011-2014

Young Investigator 2013, Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation

Indian Academy of Sciences Summer Research Fellow (2009 and 2011)

Biochemical Society Scientific Outreach Grant 2015

BEST 2010 Award from Association of Biotech Led Enterprises (ABLE) and Department of Biotechnology, Government of India for proposal on delivery of oral insulin.

Joshi, P., Chia, S., Habchi, J., Knowles, T.P., Dobson, C.M. and Vendruscolo, M., 2016. A fragment-based method of creating small-molecule libraries to target the aggregation of intrinsically disordered proteins. ACS combinatorial science, 18(3), pp.144-153.

Joshi, P. and Vendruscolo, M., 2015. Druggability of intrinsically disordered proteins. In: Intrinsically disordered proteins studied by NMR spectroscopy (pp. 383-400). Springer International Publishing.

Habchi, J., Arosio, P., Perni, M., Costa, A.R., Yagi-Utsumi, M., Joshi, P., Chia, S., Cohen, S.I., Müller, M.B., Linse, S. and Nollen, E.A., 2016. An anticancer drug suppresses the primary nucleation reaction that initiates the production of the toxic Aβ42 aggregates linked with Alzheimer’s disease. Science advances, 2(2), p.e1501244.

Habchi, J., Joshi, P., Spilotros, A., Svergun, D. and Vendruscolo, M., 2014. Structural and Mechanistic Analyses of the Effects of Small Compounds on Amyloid Beta Self-Assembly. Biophysical Journal, 106(2), p.269a.

Singh, S., Joshi, P. and Chopade, B.A., 2011. Pathway analysis of Acinetobacter baylyi: a combined bioinformatic and genomics approach. Chemical biology & drug design, 78(5), pp.893-905.

Singh, S., Joshi, P. and An, B., 2009. Choke point analysis of the metabolic pathways of Acinetobacter baylyi: a genomics approach to assess potential drug targets. Journal of Bioinformatics and Sequence Analysis, 1(3), pp.041-045.