Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Dr Alison Green

Dr Alison Green is a Reader at the National Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Research and Surveillance Unit.

Dr Alison Green

Reader

  • National Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease Research and Surveillance Unit
  • Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Contact details

Biography

  • 1983: Obtained degree in Biochemistry and Pharmacology from King’s College, University of London.
  • 1984: Undertook an MSc in Clinical Biochemistry at Newcastle University
  • 1985-1994: Worked as a clinical biochemist within the National Health Service
  • 1994-1999: Studied for a PhD entitled “Brain-specific proteins in the diagnosis of dementia” at the Dept of Neuroimmunology, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London.
  • 2000-2013: Senior Research Fellow, The National CJD Research and Surveillance Unit, University of Edinburgh
  • 2013: Appointed Reader in Biochemistry

Research summary

My research interests are in the development of diagnostic tests for dementia. I was instrumental in evaluating and introducing cerebrospinal spinal fluid (CSF) 14-3-3 as a diagnostic test for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in 1996. This contributed to CSF 14-3-3 being introduced into the diagnostic criteria for sporadic CJD in 1998 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

I have been responsible for providing a national and international diagnostic service for CSF 14-3-3 since 2000 and in 2001 my laboratory was recognised as an International Reference Laboratory by the WHO.

In 2012 my group developed a protein aggregation test for CJD called Real-time Quaking Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC). This test is more accurate than the existing CSF 14-3-3 test and is now being established in other European countries as well as Japan, Canada, Australia and United States of America.

Research aims and areas of interest

My research interest lies in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) brain-specific proteins, notably how detection and measurement of these proteins may aid diagnosis and help to elucidate underlying pathological processes. My particular interest is in the development of tests that will help with the differential diagnosis of dementia.

In 2012 my group developed a disease-specific diagnostic test for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) which is based upon the ability of prion protein found within the CSF to aggregate recombinant prion protein. This technique is called Real-time Quaking Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) and is more accurate than the existing CSF 14-3-3 test. RT-QuIC is now being established in other European countries as well as Japan, Canada, Australia and United States of America.

I am also interested in evaluating the role CSF tau protein, phosphorylated tau and beta-amyloid may play in the differential diagnosis of patients with early onset dementia. I am currently undertaking a prospective study investigating this area with Dr Suvankar Pal as part of the Cognitive Disorders Clinic, Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, with Dr Craig Heath Consultant Neurologist from Ninewells Hospital, Dundee and with Dr Martin Zeidler Consultant Neurologist from Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy.

I have recently obtained funding from the Chief Scientist Office to develop protein aggregation assays for beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein using the RT-QuIC technology. If successful this will enable the “stickiness” of these proteins to be assessed as opposed to their CSF concentration.

Research group members

  • Mrs Mary Andrews, Senior Biomedical Scientist
  • Dr Lynne McGuire, Post-doctoral Research Scientist
  • Mr Graham Fairfoul, Research Scientist

Collaborators

  • Dr Byron Caughey, Chief Scientist, NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIH, Montana, USA
  • Dr Alex Raeber, Chief Scientific Officer, Prionics AG, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Dr Gary Mallinson, Chief Laboratory Scientist, Bristol Institute of Blood Sciences, Bristol, UK.
  • Dr Laura Parkkinen, Senior Research Fellow, Neuropathology Dept, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK..
  • Prof Maurizio Pocchiari, Professor of Neurology, Istituto Superiore di Santia, Rome, Italy
  • Prof Inga Zerr, Professor of Neurology, Dementia Research Unit, National Reference Centre for TSE, Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany

Sources of funding

  • Chief Scientist Office, Scotland. “Development of disease-specific diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body disease based on RT-QuIC analysis of cerebrospinal fluid.” 2013-15 Total Value £224,966
  • Joint Programming Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND). “Optimisation, harmonisation and standardisation of the analysis of disease-specific associated prion protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by real-time QuIC (RT-QuIC) in the diagnosis of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD).” 2012-15, Total Value for University of Edinburgh £227,786
  • Joint Programming Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND). “Biomarker based diagnosis of rapid progressive dementias- optimisation of diagnostic protocols.” 2012-15, Total Value for University of Edinburgh £103,924