Professor Li Min and her research team from Mr and Mrs Ko Chi Ming Centre for Parkinson’s Disease Research, School of Chinese Medicine (SCM), recently won the Best Poster Award at the 7th International Symposium on Autophagy held in Huangshan, China. Entitled “A synthesised curcumin derivative activates TFEB to promote autophagy and lysosome biogenesis, and protect neurons independent of mTOR inhibition”, the poster presented by Dr Song Juxian, Research Assistant Professor, at the symposium was selected as one of the two best posters from about 100 posters.
Autophagy is a process by which unwanted proteins and damaged organelles are transported to lysosomes for degradation. Professor Li’s team has been actively engaged in the identification and development of novel autophagy regulators derived from Chinese medicines for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master regulator of autophagy and lysosome biogenesis, has been shown to be a very promising target for neuroprotective drugs. Professor Li said: “We have discovered a small molecule activator of TFEB, which is independent of mTOR inhibition. Our discovery points towards the development of new drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. This award attests to the hard work and advances made by SCM in the field of autophagy, neurodegenerative diseases and drug discovery at the international advanced level.”
Professor Li Min (second from right) with her research team members, Dr Song Juxian (second from left), Mr Liu Liangfeng (right) and Ms Chen Leilei attend the 7th International Symposium on Autophagy