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The Princess Royal visits UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL

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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited us at the UK Dementia Research Institute’s hub at UCL today to learn about the institute’s ground-breaking neuroscience research.

During the visit, The Princess met with our directors to hear about their vision for the institute, toured one of our new laboratories and learned about some of the cutting-edge research underway.

We were delighted to welcome HRH Princess Royal to the UK DRI labs at UCL to present our vision of a world where research beats dementia. We showed the Princess Royal microscopes, cells and brains, our early career scientists described their research, and some of our recent recruits discussed the importance of a free flowing international community of researchers—all essential ingredients if we are to conquer dementia. Dr Adrian Ivinson, Director of Operations, UK DRI

Dr Ivinson and Professor Bart De Strooper, UK DRI Director, engaged HRH in discussion about the progress the institute has made in drawing together over 300 established and early career researchers into a single national institute, and their ambitions for continued growth. They were also joined by a dementia research participant and a former carer of a dementia patient, who have played key roles in establishing the institute including the recruitment of the Director.

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The Princess visited new labs in UCL’s Cruciform building, where she met Dr Soyon Hong, who was recently recruited by the UK DRI at UCL from Harvard University, USA. Dr Hong explained her research into how the brain’s immune system, cells called microglia, may be at the heart of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease.

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Professor Nick Fox, Associate Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL, and Dr Tammaryn Lashley then showed Her Royal Highness a sample of human brain tissue and explained how donated brain tissue is critical for research.

Postdoctoral research Dr Katie Wilson of the UK DRI at UCL demonstrated a new microscope, and discussed how she uses human stem cells from donated skin tissue to develop into brain cells, for research into causes of neuronal loss.

“Dementia poses one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, and understanding its causes and researching new treatments is a key priority for UCL, so we are proud to host the hub of the UK Dementia Research Institute,” said Professor Alan Thompson, Dean, UCL Brain Sciences.

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness is seeing first-hand the progress that the UK DRI has made in establishing a world-leading centre at the forefront of dementia research.”

The Princess Royal is Chancellor of the University of London, of which both UCL and King’s College London are constituent colleges.

We would like to send our warm thanks to the Princess Royal for her time to visit us today and her words of encouragement to our research teams as we work to conquer dementia.

You can find a selection of pictures from the day on our online gallery

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