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Tearing Down Dementia: the UK DRI at King's College London's opening symposium

Posted on 18/02/2019

The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) has officially opened its centre at King’s College London, heralding a step change in dementia research in the UK.

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On 18 February 2019, the UK Dementia Research Institute at King’s College London held an opening symposium to officially open the institute. Over two days, scientists and researchers showcased new and cutting-edge research and insight into dementia.

Showcasing the work already underway at the institute, session topics over both days included RNA Binding Proteins & RNAs in Neurodegeneration, Glia in Neurodegeneration, Post-tranlsational Modifications, Advanced Imaging in Neurodegeneration and Synapse and Disease.

Day one concluded with a celebration of the UK DRI at King's researchers' commitment to ending dementia, along with an interactive session which gave attendees to opportunity literally “tear down dementia.”

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UK DRI Associate Director, Professor Chris Shaw said, ‘For me, the DRI is a chance to work with the very best of brains on the very worst of diseases. The DRI builds on the exceptional Neuroscience at Kings and plugs us into other centres of excellence throughout the UK and Internationally. We have the momentum and we mean to make an impact with new discoveries and new drugs.’

Prof Bart De Strooper, UK DRI Director, said, ‘It’s fantastic that the UK DRI at Kings has both discovery research and translational research under one roof. By focusing on ALS, FTD and Alzheimer’s disease to understand the mechanisms of these diseases, they bring a unique and valuable insight to the institute. We can see fresh thinking and skills from its new recruits and we look forward to seeing exciting discoveries over the coming years. Congratulations to Chris Shaw and his team on today’s official launch!’

The UK DRI at Kings College London is based in the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute on the Denmark Hill Campus, and draws on King’s strengths in immunology and developmental neuroscience to explore the contribution of brain inflammation to neurodegenerative diseases. Led by Professor Chris Shaw, the institute is mapping out the earliest changes in the brain associated with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in cellular and animal models and in people to gain a much deeper understanding of the causes of these conditions. The aim is that data arising from this research will then be used to design early-stage diagnostics and to develop therapeutics for effective cure.

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Established in response to the Government’s 2020 Challenge on Dementia, the UK DRI’s mission is to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent and care for people with dementias, a group of neuro-degenerative disorders which include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

The national UK Dementia Research Institute is the single biggest investment in dementia research in the UK. Established in 2017 by the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, the £290 million institute is located across six leading UK universities: King’s College London, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, with its central hub at UCL. The UK DRI will accelerate discoveries to prevent, treat and care for people with all types of dementia, and it will help us understand ways to keep the brain healthy. The UK DRI attracts the brightest minds in research, both in the UK and globally, and will ultimately be made up of 700 researchers, continuing to make the UK one of the best places in the world to study neuroscience. 

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