All the latest developments
from the institute

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Protective response to early changes in ALS and FTD

A new study led by Prof Adrian Isaacs (UK DRI at UCL) provides fresh insight into the early changes that occur in the brains of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and reveals a response in cells that protects against neurodegeneration. The research, published in Nature Neuroscience, could identify new therapeutic avenues to treat the diseases.

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Covid-19 may have small but lasting effects on cognition and memory

Research led by Prof Paul Elliott (UK DRI at Imperial) has revealed small deficits in the performance of cognitive and memory tasks in people who had recovered from Covid-19 compared with those who had not had the virus. The study is published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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UK DRI supports MRC National Mouse Genetics Network initiative

The UK DRI is supporting the Medical Research Council (MRC) National Mouse Genetics Network, through involvement in its new Ageing Cluster, and association with the UK DRI Animal Models Programme.

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Jo Jackson Connectome 2023

From academia to industry and back again: in conversation with Dr Jo Jackson

Recently awarded two prestigious fellowships by the Alzheimer’s Society, Dr Jo Jackson (Emerging Leader, UK DRI at Imperial) aims to investigate the changes taking place at synapses – the connections between neurons – during Alzheimer’s disease to gain fresh insight into the mechanisms involved, and scope for potential therapeutic opportunities. We caught up with Dr Jackson to hear about her career journey, her work on the UK DRI Multi-‘Omics Atlas Project, and her plans during the fellowships.

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Gabi Nature Paper Feb 24

Key genes linked to DNA damage and human disease uncovered

A study led by Prof Gabriel Balmus (UK DRI at Cambridge) and Dr David Adams (Wellcome Sanger Institute) has uncovered hundreds of key genes linked to DNA damage, through systematic screening of nearly 1,000 genetically modified mouse lines. The work, published in Nature, provides insights into neurodegenerative diseases, as well as a potential therapeutic avenue in the form of a protein inhibitor.

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UK DRI Cardiff welcomes Alun Cairns MP

On Friday 9 February, we were delighted to welcome Alun Cairns, MP for Vale of Glamorgan, to the UK DRI at Cardiff. Cairns was hosted by Centre Director Prof Julie Williams and Group Leader Dr Dayne Beccano-Kelly for a tour of our labs and to learn more about our research.

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Harnessing high-tech: UK DRI hosts inaugural early career researcher Informatics Symposium

Advances in computational methodologies for the investigation of high-throughput biological data are coming at a lightning pace, but challenges remain in how to share data, expertise and code. For the first time, early career researchers using informatics approaches from across the UK DRI congregated for two days to hash out solutions to these challenges.

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Comment: BBC Panorama documentary on lecanemab and donanemab trials

Tonight a new Panorama documentary airs, following patients with Alzheimer’s disease who have been taking part in clinical trials for new drugs lecanemab and donanemab. Alzheimer’s Research UK has warned that the NHS is not ready to roll the drugs out.

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How UK DRI pilot funding kicked off an independent research career: in conversation with Dr Emma Clayton

Ahead of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we spoke to Dr Emma Clayton (UK DRI at King’s), one of the UK DRI’s newest Emerging Leaders. She told us about how she first became inspired to pursue science, her current research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia, and her passion for public engagement.

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Comment: Labour party’s new plan for the life sciences sector

The Labour party has today announced its new life sciences sector plan, aimed at transforming the discovery and delivery of medical treatments. The strategy will promote innovation in the NHS, and seeks to increase R&D investment in the pharmaceutical sector by £10bn per year.

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Evidence grows for transmissible amyloid beta, but should we be concerned?

A new study from Dr Gargi Banerjee, Prof John Collinge and colleagues at the UCL Institute of Prion Diseases has identified five cases of Alzheimer’s believed to have arisen from medical procedures performed decades earlier. The prospect of disease transmission between people is at first glance concerning, but what are the risks and how can they be mitigated?

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Introducing Gregory Scott, UK DRI Centre for Care Research & Technology

Dr Gregory Scott recently became a Group Leader at the UK DRI Centre for Care Research and Technology. A neurologist with a unique perspective, afforded by his background in computer science, his research combines engineering, neuroscience, and translational medicine. Here, Dr Scott discusses what inspired him to pursue neuroscience, why he wanted to become a UK DRI Group Leader, and his recently awarded NIHR Advanced Fellowship.

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New insight into the effects of Parkinson’s on different cell types in the brain

A study led by Dr Emmanouil Metzakopian​ and Prof Matthew G. Holt has uncovered fresh insight into how different cell types in the brain are affected by Parkinson’s. The research, published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, provides a valuable resource for better understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the disease.

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Study uses AI to improve early detection of urinary tract infection in people affected by dementia

A study led by Prof Payam Barnaghi and Alex Capstick (UK DRI Centre for Care Research & Technology) has used artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a new method for early detection of urinary tract infection (UTI) in people affected by dementia. The research, published in the journal npj Digital Medicine, could minimise preventable hospital admissions by enabling infections to be treated before complications arise.

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UK DRI at Edinburgh hosts Health Minister Andrew Stephenson MP

​We were delighted to host the Minister for Health and Secondary Care, Andrew Stephenson CBE MP, on Friday 5 January for a tour of the UK DRI at Edinburgh.

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Study uncovers potential driver of Alzheimer’s disease progression

A study led by Dr Claire Durrant (UK DRI at Edinburgh) reveals fresh insight into the role of the protein tau in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The research, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, could have important implications for the development of future therapeutics.

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Introducing Julija Krupic, UK DRI at UCL: Understanding the earliest brain changes in Alzheimer’s

Dr Julija Krupic is the UK DRI at UCL’s newest Group Leader. A physicist by training, her research now focuses on a network in the brain called the entorhinal hippocampal circuit, in the context of health and disease. Here, she discusses her new UK DRI programme and where she hopes her work will lead.

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New strategic partnership with Ono Pharmaceutical to speed up delivery of new treatments for dementia

We are pleased to announce a new strategic industry partnership with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Ono), alongside the funding of multiple projects. Delivering innovative research that translates into improvements in diagnosis and treatment of dementia is central to the mission of the UK DRI, and industry partnerships have a crucial role to play.

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Ageing brain fails to control neuronal activity with consequences for cognition

A new study led by Dr Sam Barnes and Dr Carola Radulescu (UK DRI at Imperial) uncovers insight into the mechanisms underlying age-linked cognitive decline. The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, could unlock new potential therapeutic targets.

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Poster session 2 connectome 2023

2023 Wrapped: Blockbuster funding, big breakthroughs, and a bright future

It’s been another fantastic year for the UK DRI, with exciting partnerships, new faces joining the Institute and plenty of important scientific discoveries. Read on to explore some of our highlights from 2023.

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