Molecular mechanism of amyloid fibrils in health and disease

The aim of my Lab is to understand molecular mechanisms of amyloid fibrils in health and disease. Amyloid fibrils are known for causing pathological neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s (via Ab) or Parkinson’s (via aS), but also have specific biological functions in living organisms, functional amyloids. My research focuses on two main areas: neurodegenerative amyloid proteins and biofilm forming bacterial functional amyloids, a major cause of persistent infections and an antimicrobial resistance (AMR) target. We aim to determine atomic resolution structures and molecular dynamics information, for better understanding of amyloid formation and biofilms. This will pave the way towards future treatments against neurodegeneration, bacterial infections, and their antimicrobial resistance.

We use modern solid state NMR (ssNMR) spectroscopy to study these insoluble/non-crystalline proteins. We develop novel NMR methods to push the limits of the state of the art and apply them to understand molecular details and mechanisms of amyloid fibrils. ssNMR has made a remarkable progress in the last decade to become a high-resolution and -sensitivity method due to advances in sample preparation, hardware, novel methods such as proton-detection and hyperpolarization. These allow studies of these difficult proteins not only in vitro, but also in their complex native in vivo environment. Akbey Lab also like to combine NMR with other exciting structural biology tools.




1999-2005:       B.Sc. in Chemistry, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey


2005-2008:       Ph.D. in Solid-state NMR, Max Planck Institute, Mainz, Germany


2009-2015:       Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology, Berlin, Germany

2015-2018:       Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
2018-2019:       Forschung Zentrum Julich, Julich, Germany
2020-2021:       Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
2021:                Radboud University of Science, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Asst. Prof. Ümit Akbey
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Structural Biology, School of Medicine
2044 Biomedical Science Tower 3
3501 5th Ave. Pittsburgh, PA, 15261, United States.
Office: +1 412 383 9896

Phone: (412) 383-9896
Fax: (412) 648-9008


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