Dr Soyon Hong, Dr Tim Bartels, and Prof Adrian Isaacs, all from UK DRI at UCL, have each been awarded further funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), for phase 2 of the organisation’s Collaborative Pairs Programme.
The scheme was set up in 2020, to support pairs of researchers from different areas of science to explore innovative, interdisciplinary approaches for addressing key challenges in the biology of neurodegenerative diseases. In the first phase, 30 pairs of labs were funded for 18-month pilot projects, including the UK DRI trio. 16 of those projects were selected for Phase 2, which will build on the initial work, but at a larger scale – with each pair being awarded $1.6million over 4 years.
Prof Isaacs leads an ongoing project with Dr Jeremy Carlton from the Francis Crick Institute and King’s College London, studying membrane damage and repair in neurons, and whether repairing damage to membranes could be a new way to fend off neurodegeneration. He explained:
“This award will allow us to scan the entire genome for genes that are involved in the membrane repair process. That should dramatically enhance our understanding of membrane repair and ways to resolve it – hopefully paving the way for new therapeutic approaches. We are really excited to keep working on this project together and that Professor Caleb Webber from UK DRI at Cardiff has joined the team. He will investigate whether new genes we discover contribute to the risk of developing a range of different diseases. This collaboration across DRI centres highlights the synergy we have at the UK DRI."