Aslihan Klusek

Aslihan Ugun-Klusek

Independent Research Fellow

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Bioscience

Role

Dr Ugun-Klusek is an Independent Research Fellow in Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Human Disease in the School of Science and Technology. She is a member of Biosciences team and her research aligns with the Health and Wellbeing strategic theme at NTU.

Career overview

2016-present: Independent Research Fellow (Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Human Disease)

2016: Lecturer in Biochemistry, Nottingham Trent University

2008-2016: Research Fellow, Nottingham Trent University

2007-2008: Technical assistant in proteomics, Nottingham Trent University

2008: PhD in ‘The role of 5-Hydroxytryptamine in Pre-eclampsia’, Nottingham Trent University

2003: MSc in Applied Biosciences, Nottingham Trent University

Research areas

Dr Ugun-Klusek’s research focuses on investigating the biochemical and molecular events that drive neurodegeneration and currently she is exploring the role of Monoamine oxidases (MAOs) in this process. MAOs are mitochondrial enzymes that play a key role in maintaining neurotransmitter levels in the brain but also important in redox homeostasis because they generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a catalytic by-product. ROS can chemically modify proteins and alter their biological functions. If not cleared, oxidatively damaged proteins may become cytotoxic. Neurons are particularly vulnerable to ROS and mitochondrial dysfunction due to their high energy demand. Dr Ugun-Klusek’s current research is focusing on investigating the effect of MAO-A generated ROS on mitochondrial health and protein degradation signalling in the context of neurodegeneration. The long-term aim is to identify molecular pathways that control mitochondrial function and neuronal health/survival.

Dr Ugun-Klusek also interested in investigating the role of MAO-A in other pathological conditions such as cancers and the application of proteomics techniques to study disease mechanisms.

Opportunities arise to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD in the areas identified above. Further information may be obtained on the NTU Research Degrees website https://www.ntu.ac.uk/research/research-degrees-at-ntu.

External activity

Member of Biochemical society

Reviewer for Journal of the Neurological Sciences

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being conducted with the collaboration of:

  • Dr L Bedford, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  • Dr J Fitzgerald, Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Tübingen, Germany
  • Dr Florence Burte, Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre, Newcastle University, UK
  • Dr Patrick Yu-Wai-Ma, MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit and Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Dr Miquel Àngel Pujana, ProCURE, Catalan Institute of Oncology, IDIBELL, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Dr Christoph Ufer, Institute of Biochemistry, Universitatsklinikum Charite, Berlin, Germany

Current and past Sponsors include:

  • Nottingham Trent University Independent Research Fellowship Scheme (2016-2021)
  • NTU Short Summer Studentships (2014, 2016 and 2017)
  • Biochemical Society Early Career Member Bursary (2017)
  • Queen’s Anniversary Award, PhD Studentship ‘New molecular pathways linking the mitochondrial enzyme monoamine oxidase to neuronal cell death or survival’ (2017-2021) (co-supervisor)
  • Neuroscience Support Group at the Queen's Medical Centre, Funding for a PhD ‘Investigating the role of neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative disease’ (2017-2021) (collaborator)

Publications

Monoamine oxidase-A promotes protective autophagy in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells through Bcl-2 phosphorylation. Ugun-Klusek A, Theodosi TS, Fitzgerald JC, Burté F, Ufer C, Boocock DJ, Yu-Wai-Man P, Bedford L, Billett EE. Redox Biology, 2019, 20,167-181. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2018.10.003

Dynamic metabolic patterns tracking neurodegeneration and gliosis following 26S proteasome dysfunction in mouse forebrain neurons. Geiszler PC, Ugun-Klusek A, Lawler K, Pardon MC, Yuchun D, Bai L, Daykin CA, Auer DP, Bedford L. Sci Rep, 2018, 8(1), 4833. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23155-2.

Continued 26S proteasome dysfunction in mouse brain cortical neurons impairs autophagy and the Keap1-Nrf2 oxidative defence pathway. Ugun-Klusek A, Tatham MH, Elkharaz J, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Lawler K, Mohamed H, Paine SM, Anderson G, John Mayer R, Lowe J, Ellen Billett E, Bedford L. Cell Death Dis, 2017, 8(1):e2531. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2016.443.

Serotonin receptor 6 mediates defective brain development in monoamine oxidase A-deficient mouse embryos. Wang CC, Man GC, Chu CY, Borchert A, Ugun-Klusek A, Billett EE, Kühn H, Ufer C. J Biol Chem, 2014, 289 (12), 8252-63. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.522094.

Monoamine oxidase-A knockdown in human neuroblastoma cells reveals protection against mitochondrial toxins. Fitzgerald JC, Ugun-Klusek A, Allen G, De Girolamo LA, Hargreaves I, Ufer C, Abramov AY and Billett EE, The FASEB Journal, 2014, 28(1):218-29. doi: 10.1096/fj.13-235481

Implications for oxidative stress and astrocytes following 26S proteasomal depletion in mouse forebrain neurones. Elkharaz J, Ugun-Klusek A, Constantin-Teodosiu T, Lawler K, Mayer RJ, Billett E, Lowe J, Bedford L, Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013, 1832 (12), 1930-1938. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2013.07.002.

Reduced placental vascular reactivity to 5-hydroxytryptamine in pre-eclampsia and the status of 5HT2A receptors. Ugun-Klusek A, Tamang A, Loughna P, Billett E, Buckley G and Sivasubramaniam S, Vascular Pharmacology, 2011, 55 (5-6), 157-162. doi: 10.1016/j.vph.2011.07.006

Monoamine oxidase a expression is vital for embryonic brain development by modulating developmental apoptosis.Wang CC, Borchert A, Ugun-Klusek A, Tang LY, Lui WT, Chu CY, Billett E, Kuhn H and Ufer C, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011, 286 (32), 28322–28330. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.241422.

See all of Aslihan Ugun Klusek's publications...