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20 Apr 17. UK Dementia Research Institute

Edinburgh has been selected as one of 6 expert centres for UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI), as Edinburgh's dementia experts join a £250m initiative to combat the disease.

Dementia researchers across the UK are joining forces to find new ways of tackling the condition.

The institute is a joint initiative to advance dementia research led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) with founding charity partners, Alzheimer’s Society & Alzheimer’s Research UK.

What is dementia?

Dementia is caused when brain cells called neurons fail to work properly and eventually die – a process that involves other types of brain cells that together far outnumber neurons.

By identifying how these other cell types behave in healthy brains & studying how dementia affects them, the UK DRI Edinburgh team hopes to find new ways of preventing this deterioration happening.

What is the UK DRI?

The UK DRI has been established in response to the Government’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia. Its mission is to find new ways of diagnosing and treating dementias – a group of neurodegenerative diseases which include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s & Huntington’s diseases.

Researchers will identify strategies to help prevent dementia before symptoms appear. They will also investigate new approaches to improve care for people living with the conditions.

The institute is headquartered at University College London with additional centres at the Universities of Edinburgh & Cambridge, Cardiff University, Imperial College London &  King’s College London.  

The shared vision between the centres will be at the heart of the DRI’s success & this creativity at the borders will lead us to truly understand dementias & how they progress. We selected the centres based on innovative, excellent science, evidence of strong leadership, the alignment of goals with the DRI as a whole & the ability to grow & collaborate as the institute gathers pace

Professor Bart De StrooperDirector of the UK DRI

UK DRI Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has strengths in systemic inflammation & microglial biology & is in a unique position to provide the foundation for the newly appointed associate director to share its wide-ranging expertise in the role of myeloid cells in health & disease, to focus on dementia. The University of Edinburgh also has complementary scientific strengths in neuronal, vascular & metabolic processes.

Edinburgh presented a truly impressive selection of complementary & interactive programmes & Professor Hardingham’s coherent vision for the centre & his plans to recruit talented young scientists was in the true spirit of the DRI.

Professor Bart De StrooperDirector of the UK DRI

The UK DRI will enable us to join forces to accelerate research into neurodegenerative diseases leading to dementia. Our responsibility to dementia patients & their families, both current & future, is to use this opportunity to find new ways to prevent or slow progression of this devastating group of diseases

Associate Director, UK DRI at the University of Edinburgh Professor Giles Hardingham