Music notes and science diagrams                          Image by Louise Serpell

“Misfolding” is a public engagement collaboration between the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre and the Serpell Lab in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex.

The Lab has made some important discoveries about the particular malfunctionings of the brain that lead to dementia, which significantly alter our understanding of the illness. The project employs music and digital arts to make these important developments in brain science and dementia research accessible to the public.


Professor Nicholas Till – Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre

Frances M Lynch – Artistic Director, electric voice theatre and Minerva Scientifica Women in Music and Science

Professor Louise Serpell – Serpell Lab, School of Life Sciences

Dr Karen Marshall – Serpell Lab, School of Life Sciences


We are all now familiar with the role of viruses in human diseases, and have for some time known about good & bad bacteria. But how many of us know that proteins are also involved in human disease?  When certain proteins, known as amyloid proteins, misfold things can go very wrong.

An exploratory workshop with three members/ex-members of the Sussex Music department took place on 1 and 2 June 2021, with a public showing of the outcomes, described as “sketches” for finished pieces, by Kira Ramchaitar-Husbands, Antonia Redding and Shu Yang.


The three pieces were introduced by Frances Lynch’s contribution “Misfolding for Dummies”.

electric voice theatre · Misfolding For Dummies (DEMO) by Frances M Lynch


“Folding and Misfolding” by Kira Ramchaitar-Husbands for sampled paper folding sounds and audio-visual electronics

“Virus, Bacteria, Protein” by Antonia Redding for recorded soundscape (Predators as virus, birds for bacteria, mechanical sounds as proteins), my mum’s voice (she is living with dementia), my voice, paper aeroplane and Scrabble

“Hope for ReFolding” by Shu Yang - biochemistry inspired soft-crafts, sound, music, and mini-performance

"Miss Amy-Lloyd Folding” by Frances M Lynch

She was Miss Folding all her life

The proteins in her brain

The blanket ruffled in the cot

The arms not holding her securely

Paper planes and paper games that never flew and never played

The proteins in her brain – Miss Folding


The birthday cake that did not rise

The folding seat that wouldn’t stay

The chairs and tables stacked away

The crash of wood on polished floor

The proteins in her brain – Miss Folding


The crisp pound notes misplaced

No help for rainy days

Umbrellas failed to open

The proteins in her brain – Miss Folding


The ironing board snapped shut on hands that neatly folded clothes

Which somehow came undone

Like proteins in her brain – Miss Folding


Until in later life the paper would not fit

The envelope was blocked

The letters could not sit at peace upon the page

Like proteins in her brain – Miss Folding


The napkins – try and try again –

Were never folded properly

Like deckchairs in a storm

Like proteins in her brain- Miss Folding


White sheets await a final fold

How many others led her here

To lie at peace before her time

As year on year she was Mis-Folding

Proteins in her brain