Dr Neil McKenzie (PhD, CChem, MRSC)

Postdoctoral Scientist

Background

Neil McKenzie currently works at the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, The University of Edinburgh. Neil does research in Neuroscience (CJD) along with Chemical, Molecular and Structural Biology.

Qualifications

PhD, CChem, MRSC

Responsibilities & affiliations

National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit (NCJDRSU) Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS) Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

Research summary

Detection of protein misfolding diseases, particularly prions.

Current research interests

The application of RT-QuIC as a diagnostic tool for clinical identification in protein misfolding diseases. The production & use of A-Syn, Tau, TDP-43 and truncate PrP in RT-QuIC. Investigating how physical parameters affect the reproducibility of prion protein behaviour in diagnostic assays.

Past research interests

Protein folding, assay development, fluorescence technologies, small molecule inhibitors, protein-protein interactions.

Knowledge exchange

Dissemination of best practice - He is recognised as an international expert on the RT-QuIC technique. Since 2015, his advice has been sought out by 17 groups from Mexico to China. 15 of these laboratories have gone on to request physical support.

Publications:

1) N. McKenzie, L. McGuire, A. Green – “The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - Standard Operating Procedure for Detecting sCJD using the RT-QuIC Assay”

2) A. Franceschini, S. Baiardi, A. G. Hughson, N. McKenzie, F. Moda, M. Rossi, S. Capellari, A. Green, G. Giaccone, B. Caughey and P. Parchi, Scientific Reports, 2017, 7, 10655.

3) Areškevičiūtė et al - 2017 - CJD microchimerism in a family with GSS, J. Neuropath. & Exp. Neur. https://doi.org/10.1093/jnen/nly043

4) N. McKenzie, A. Green – “NeuroMethods – CSF Analysis – RT-QuIC for Prion Disease” by Springer Press (to be published late 2018)

Posters:

5) N McKenzie et al, “Evaluation of truncated versus full length hamster recombinant PrP as a substrate for CSF RT-QuIC in the diagnosis of sporadic CJD subtypes” [Prion 2018, Poster]

6) Areskeviciute, McKenzie et al “Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in a Woman Married into a Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker Family: An Investigation of Prions’ Transmission via Microchimerism” [Prion 2018, Poster]

7) N. I. McKenzie, et al, “Investigation of the effect of sCJD subtypes on the sensitivity of CSF RT-QuIC.” [Prion 2017, Poster]

8) G. Piconi, N. I. McKenzie, A. H. Peden, A.J.E. Green. “Characterisation of RT-QuIC Reaction Products” [Prion 2017, Poster]

9) N. I. McKenzie, L. I. McGuire and JPND Consortium, Prion, 2016, 10, S93-S93. “Two International Ring-trials demonstrate that CSF RT-QuIC is a robust and reliable test for diagnosing sporadic CJD.” [Prion 2016 Poster]

10) G. Piconi, N. McKenzie, M. Head and A. Green, Prion, 2016, 10, S52-S52. “sCJD prion seeding activity in human urine by RT-QuIC” [Prion 2016 Poster]

Other:

Prion conference (2016-2018)

STEM Ambassador Programme (2016-2018)

Midlothian Science Festival (2018)

Project activity

Neil's work facilitates the surveillance of prion disease in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

He has expertise in a clinical diagnostic technique called the "Real Time Quaking Induced Assay" (RT-QuIC) and, as part of an analytical service for the NHS, he runs the clinical laboratory side of this test. Edinburgh is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence for RT-QuIC. He produces the specialist materials required for these tests and makes them available to the national surveillance centres of many European countries.

He evaluates new applications and improvements of RT-QuIC as well as presenting his research work to external groups.