Members of the public gathered at the Francis Crick Institute to learn about cutting edge dementia research from scientists at ‘Dementia Demystified’, an open event run in collaboration with the UK DRI to enhance public understanding of the condition.
The event, held on the evening of 31 March, was organised by Dr Georgina Starling, a postdoctoral researcher, and Catherine Heffner, a PhD student, both based in Prof Adrian Isaacs’ lab (UK DRI at UCL) and funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).
“When the grant was announced by CZI back in early 2021, Catherine and I sat down to brainstorm possible events and quickly realised that we both share a passion for science communication,” Georgina recalled. “We both work on projects related to dementia and feel the topic can be perceived as complex and overwhelming. We realised we wanted to use the grant money to put on an event presenting what dementia research looks like and aims to achieve, and therefore ‘Dementia Demystified’ was born."
Georgina and Catherine recognised a significant barrier to public understanding of dementia, due to its complexity and a lack of research talks aimed at a non-scientific audience, so the pair decided to put on the event to help rectify this.
The event was advertised specifically to people with personal experience of dementia, via local London-based support groups. Consequently, around 50 people with a personal connection to dementia attended the event, including people with a diagnosis, as well as carers and family members of people living with dementia.
“We decided the event would focus on conversations between researchers and a targeted audience who had been affected by dementia as we felt this would lead to meaningful conversations and allow the audience to ask their own questions,” Georgina continued.