UK DRI Cardiff welcomes Alun Cairns MP

Alun Cairns Visit 1

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.

Cairns was joined for the visit by two people living with Parkinson’s – Andrew, who lives in his constituency, and Paul, a friend and former colleague.

The visit to the UK DRI at Cardiff was organised as part of the Royal Society Pairing Scheme, under which policymakers and scientists shadow each other to experience each other’s worlds and learn about their work. As part of the scheme, Dr Beccano-Kelly previously spent a week in Westminster, alongside former UK DRI Emerging Leader Dr Cara Croft and UK DRI Group Leader Dr Sarah Marzi, to learn about the inner workings of parliament and how policy is shaped. You can read more about their week in Westminster here.

During the visit in Cardiff, the UK DRI team showcased their science, including programmes to study the risk genes for Alzheimer’s disease and to uncover how miscommunication between brain cells arises at the earliest stages of Parkinson’s. During a tour of the labs, the group were shown several pieces of state-of-the-art equipment, including the Opera Phenix High Content Screening System, an advanced imaging tool that enables UK DRI scientists to study novel disease pathways.

The group also met Prof Julie Williams, Centre Director at the UK DRI at Cardiff, who spoke about the UK DRI’s mission as a national institute, and the achievements of the Cardiff Centre to date. They also spoke to several other Group Leaders and Early Career Researchers at the Centre.

Speaking after the visit, Alun Cairns MP said:

“Having run the London Marathon twice for Dementia and Parkinson’s charities, I know just how important the UK DRI’s research is. Supporting their research is a cause close to my heart, so it was fantastic to hear about the progress that is being made by Julie, Dayne and the team. An experience I am grateful to have been able to share with Barry-resident Andrew and former colleague and friend Paul.”

Dr Dayne Beccano-Kelly said:

“Demystifying science so we can discuss how to improve and accelerate it towards the therapeutics we all want is a discussion that needs to be had with all stakeholders: researchers, people with Parkinson's, government and others. It was great to be able to do this again today. Really pleased to show the advancements my team at the UK DRI are making.”

Article published: 14 February 2024
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