The UK Dementia Research Institute at Kings College London (UK DRI at KCL) aims to identify the earliest events that initiate neurodegenerative mechanisms at atomic, molecular, cellular, tissue and organismal levels and to use the insights gained to develop more effective therapeutics.
The UK DRI at KCL was launched in 2017 as part of the government’s effort to tackle dementia. The initiative was made possible thanks to funds contributed by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The UK DRI at KCL is a nationwide operation, with research spread across seven research centres. The centres work collaboratively with one goal in mind: to boost, connect and revolutionise dementia discovery science.
King’s College London was selected as one of the centres due to its excellence and long history of neuroscience research and innovation. King’s College London has contributed to the discovery of new genes, potential therapeutic targets, imaging and proteomic biomarkers, and international leadership in clinical trials.
The UK DRI at at KCL focuses initially on Frontotemporal Dementia/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (FTD/ALS), making use of our strongest and most promising research. We will then expand the institute to explore the contributions of synucleinopathies and neuroinflammation to dementia, exploiting our strengths in immunology and developmental neuroscience and extending our collaborations with researchers in the MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders and the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases.
Our specific research topics include:
- Understanding the structural basis for the formation of protein aggregates
- Identifying the cellular basis of aggregate formation as well as weakening and loss of synapse
- Studying the consequence of the accumulation of protein aggregates at various levels
- Elucidating the identity of genes associated with familial and sporadic versions of neurodegeneration and their influence on disease mechanisms
- Innovating, developing, and/or curating novel tools and technologies for the investigation into the mechanisms
- Utilising both screening-based and rationally designed therapeutic approaches
- Developing expertise in the design and manufacture of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors capable of delivering genes to the brain and spinal cord
- Implementing new techniques for the study of neurodegeneration, oxidative stress and iron overload.