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​​​​​​​05 Apr 18. UK DRI Edinburgh

The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK-DRI) at The University of Edinburgh is approaching its official launch on the 11th and 12th April.

The Edinburgh Centre

UK DRI at The University of Edinburgh was established in September 2017 as one of six centres of the UK DRI, headquartered at UCL and led by UK Director Bart de Strooper.

We began with five programme leaders (Associate Director Giles Hardingham, Joanna Wardlaw, Siddharthan Chandran, Tara Spires-Jones and Barry McColl) as well as DRI Momentum Award holder Josef Priller. Our offices are based on the 1st floor of the Chancellor’s Building in refurbished labs.

Also part of the local team are Wellcome Clinical Fellow David Hunt, and Lecturer in Biophysics Mathew Horrocks, as well as many integral local experts and collaborators such as Karen Horsburgh, David Wyllie and Anna Williams. We also welcome to the team DRI Scientific Manager Beverly Roberts, Laboratory manager Alexa Jury, Informaticians Owen Dando and Xin He, as well as Microscopist Juraj Koudelka.

Dementia research

Global studies are increasingly highlighting the important role of immune, vascular and metabolic factors in the development of neurodegenerative diseases but the interplay between these components in disease progression is poorly understood. The UK DRI at The University of Edinburgh aims to broaden out the traditional linear view of neurodegenerative disease to encompass the multicellular environment surrounding degenerating neurons.

The Centre will examine the complex interactions between neurons, glia, immune system and blood vessels that make up a functioning brain. They bring together strengths in metabolism, inflammation, blood vessel biology and stem cell medicine to explore how these interactions control the trajectory of neurodegenerative diseases leading to dementia. Moreover, by describing interactions that help to maintain cognitive function for several decades in a healthy, ageing brain, the team aim to identify biological regulators that can inform the development of new therapies.

Current activities 

Although early days, DRI laboratories have authored studies in well-respected journals such as Neuron, eLife, Nature Communications, J. Exp. Med., and Lancet Neurology.

We will hold our launch symposium on April 11/12 at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Through 2018, a recruitment programme is ongoing to bring in more programme leaders to further develop our research themes.