UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL


Research at the UK DRI at UCL

Research at the UK DRI at UCL covers the journey from the person living with dementia to the laboratory and back again - with improved diagnosis and potential therapies put to the test.

We need to better understand the diversity and complexity of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's disease, in order to understand the mechanisms involved, and ultimately how we can alter them to improve people's lives.

We must find treatments quicker, and that's why the UK DRI at UCL is taking a novel approach by integrating diverse expertise for efficiency, from genetics to diagnostics.

This work is enhanced by incredible clinical resources. Researchers have access to unique clinical cohorts, where comprehensive data has been collected throughout disease progression including memory assessments and brain tissue. The UK DRI at UCL provides a clinical arm to the whole of the UK DRI.

The strategic aims of UK DRI at UCL are:

  • to elucidate mechanisms of disease to understand the pathways from gene to clinical manifestation, in order to identify new therapeutic targets;
  • to take full advantage of UCL’s clinical strengths: its cohorts, biomarker capabilities, biological and pathological resources, its access to patients, clinical expertise and translational research facilities - to conduct research from bedside to bench and back;
  • to focus on preventing or slowing disease progression as early as possible - when the minimum of neuronal loss has occurred;
  • to build on (and link) expertise in genomics; in axonal transport and defects in membrane trafficking and signalling; in the molecular mechanisms of C9orf72; in Huntington’s disease; in Wnt signalling and synapse maintenance;
  • to build human research capacity in neurodegeneration through training and mentoring;
  • to be opportunistic and responsive to new technological and scientific advances.

Find out more about the research that takes place at UK DRI at UCL here.

Programmes at the UK DRI at UCL

Structure-function relationship in neurodegeneration

Group Leader: Dr Tim Bartels

Understanding and repairing pathological neural circuits in Alzheimer's disease

Group Leader: Dr Marc Aurel Busche

Investigating the cellular reaction to amyloid beta and Tau

Group Leader: Professor Bart de Strooper

The molecular causes and consequences of tauopathy in Alzheimer's Disease and Frontotemporal dementia

Centre Director: Professor Karen Duff

From Patient to Bench and Back: Clinical Resources, Accelerating Therapies

Group Leader: Professor Nick Fox

Analysis of neurodegeneration 

Group Leader: Professor John Hardy

Immune mechanisms of synaptic function and pathology

Group Leader: Dr Soyon Hong

Frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease mechanisms 

Group Leader: Professor Adrian Isaacs

Restoring axonal transport deficits as a therapeutic strategy for neurodegenerative diseases 

Group Leader: Professor Giampietro Schiavo

Exploring the utility of synaptic markers in frontotemporal dementia

Emerging Leader: Dr Aitana Sogorb-Esteve

Mechanism of the DNA damage response in Huntington's disease pathogenesis and relevance for therapeutics

Group Leader: Professor Sarah Tabrizi

Next-generation imaging biomarkers of cortical microstructure for measuring presymptomatic cortical degeneration in Alzheimer's disease and associations with molecular pathology

Emerging Leader: Dr Philip Weston

Mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease development in Down syndrome

Group Leader: Dr Frances Wiseman

Fluid biomarkers for neurogenerative diseases 

Group Leader: Professor Henrik Zetterberg

Microscopy at the UK DRI at UCL

Discover more about microscopy at the UK DRI at UCL here.

New Hub for the UK DRI at UCL

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The future iconic home of the UK DRI at UCL will be alongside UCL's Queen Square Institute of Neurology in a new building on Grays Inn Road.  The site will house over 500 researchers from the UK Dementia Research Institute and UCL’s Queen Square Institute of Neurology, all working towards the Government’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia.