Row Fogo Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain
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Transatlantic Network of Research Excellence projects extended for two years

The Network's research on small vessel diseases will continue until December 2023

Transatlantic Network of Research Excellence was granted an extension research on small vessel disease. Our project will continue until December 2023.

With deep gratitude to our funder Fondation Leducq for generously letting us to continue our work.


Transatlantic Network of Research Excellence

Transatlantic Network of Research Excellence is combining multidisciplinary experitise from across Europe and North America to study the role of the perivascular space in small vessel disease (SVD).

The international research consortium consists of world-class experts, skilled in experimental and clinical studies, who individually have developed novel techniques and unveiled key insights into cerebral microvascular structure and function. They will now combine their unique strengths and motivations to unravel the pathobiology of the perivascular space, a structure that plays a pivotal role in maintaining brain health and underpins SVD.

The research consortium consisting of 8 centres, is led by the University of Edinburgh, with Professor Joanna Wardlaw, Chair of Applied Neuroimaging, being appointed as European coordinator of the study. She will lead the research in collaboration with the North American coordinator, Professor Berislav Zlokovic of the University of Southern California.


Our research

The international group is interested in a feature of the brain called the perivascular space. This is the gap surrounding blood vessels in the brain. Fluid uses this gap like a pipe to transport waste products from the brain. These spaces enlarge in SVD. We are trying to understand what causes them to get bigger, and what happens to the movement of fluid in the brain when this occurs.

We think that the large PVS lead to fluid stagnation in the brain, which may cause problems such as inflammation and reduced oxygen supply. We aim to study patients with SVD and use models of the disease to understand this. 

There is currently no effective treatment for SVD and  researchers do not currently have a good understanding of its causes.

By using a combination of disease models and patient studies, researchers will investigate why, and how these spaces are enlarged in SVD. This will help them to determine how these spaces contribute to the disease.

This approach will also further their understanding of the underlying mechanisms of SVD with the potential to reveal new treatment targets.


Cerebral small vessel disease

Small vessel disease, a group of vascular disorders resulting from the pathological impairment of the small blood vessels of the brain, is strongly linked to causing some forms of dementia and stroke. These diseases have a huge social and economic impact.



Related links

Transatlantic Network of Research Excellence website

Professor Joanna Wardlaw profile