Studies are increasingly highlighting the important role of immune, vascular and metabolic factors in the development of neurodegenerative diseases but the interplay between these components in disease progression is poorly understood. The UK DRI at The University of Edinburgh will broaden out the traditional view of neurodegenerative disease as a disorder of misfolded proteins to encompass the multicellular environment surrounding degenerating neurons.
The research team lead by Professor Giles Hardingham will examine the complex interactions between cells of the brain, immune system and blood vessels that make up the ‘neurogliovascular unit’. They bring together strengths in metabolism, inflammation, blood vessel biology and stem cell medicine to explore how interactions at the neurogliovascular unit control the trajectory of neurodegenerative diseases leading to dementia.
By describing interactions at the neurogliovascular unit that help to maintain cognitive function for several decades in a healthy, ageing brain, the team aim to identify biological regulators that can inform the development of new therapies.
UK DRI at The University of Edinburgh will be located on the BioQuarter, Edinburgh's new multidisciplinary research institute and teaching hospital with access to superb multimodal neuroimaging and clinical research facilities.
Foundation programmes at this centre:
- Professorship: Astrocytes as an upstream modulator and downstream effector of neurodegenerative pathology
- Lead: Professor Giles Hardingham
- Professorship: Small vessel diseases and vascular contributions to neurodegeneration and dementia
- Lead: Professor Joanna Wardlaw
- Professorship: Dissecting macroglial-neuronal crosstalk in C9ORF72 Frontotemporal dementia/ amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Lead: Professor Siddharthan Chandran
- Fellowship: Non-cell autonomous mechanisms of synapse pathology
- Lead: Dr Tara Spires-Jones
- Fellowship: Microglial spatiotemporal diversity and role in susceptibility and resilience to neurodegenerative disease
- Lead: Dr Barry McColl