Brain Sciences


Dr Tammaryn Lashley breaks down barriers to understanding dementia

Institute of Neurology and Alzheimer's Research UK Senior Research Fellow Dr Tammaryn Lashley believes raising public awareness and understanding is crucial to reduce the global burden of dementia.

Tammaryn Lashley with fellow researchers at ULC's Its All Academic Festival

10 August 2018

“I am passionate about people understanding what scientists do,” said Dr Lashley. “Breaking down barriers of people in white coats doing farfetched experiments in the lab, is important for the public to understand that we are trying to make a difference and find a cure for dementia.”

Dr Lashley’s public engagement activities include delivering several lectures to the public on dementia research; taking part in several events including Silvering the Cerebrum, a UCL event combining art and research; organising the Queen Square Brain Bank stall at the Science Museum for a ‘Science Lates’ event about dementia and a similar stall at the launch of the campaign at UCL.

She has engaged with the press, appeared on live TV in the Victoria Derbyshire Show, and has been interviewed for an article published in the Financial Times Magazine.

Dr Lashley also has a track record for promoting women in science and encouraging girls and women of all ages to follow a career in scientific research. This involves engaging with schools to present STEM careers talks, and taking part in ARUK early careers events. She was also acknowledged for her outstanding research supervision in the UCL Student Union awards, voted for by her PhD students.

“Given there is still a low representation of females studying STEM related subjects or in research careers, it is my personal goal that the public engagement activities I partake in drive more young women to be interested in science and research.”

Ultimately, Dr Lashley hopes her public engagement efforts will go a long way to helping cure dementia. Globally, the numbers of people living with dementia will increase from 50 million in 2018 to 152 million in 2050, a 204 per cent increase, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“It is important to provide as much information as possible to the public because it is the public that want to understand the diseases – they want to know how they can help.

“And they help in such amazing ways to raise money for the different charities that then subsequently fund our research in the lab through different grants,” said Dr Lashley.

In continuing on her mission to spread public awareness, Dr Lashley, as co-chair of the UCL ARUK Network, is organising a public engagement event in October 2018.  This event will feature a series of interactive talks and open discussions on the latest dementia research being undertaken at UCL.

Dr Lashley said: “These are always great events not only for the public but also for us as scientists because talking to the public who aren’t involved in the day-to-day research can actually give us ideas for future research and questions that need answering.”