The foundation for the development of
effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases
Professor Tara Spires-Jones
Tara runs a research group studying brain changes in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.
Tara's laboratory studies the synaptic connections between neurons, which in healthy brain allow learning and memory. The goal of the group is to understand the mechanisms of synapse degeneration in order to develop treatments that will promote recovery of brain function. Tara received her PhD from the University of Oxford and was an Assistant Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School before returning to the UK to join the University of Edinburgh in 2013.
In addition to her research, Tara is passionate about communicating scientific findings to the public and policy makers; increasing the rigour and reproducibility in translational neuroscience; promoting inclusivity and diversity in science; and supporting career development of neuroscientists. She is a founding member of the FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence, which works to promote the future of European Neuroscience. She served as a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council from 2016-2019 advising the Scottish Government on science policy, and in 2018 was elected as a term Member of the European Dana Alliance of the Brain promoting public engagement with neuroscience.
Professor Frank Gunn-Moore
Frank is the Head of the School of Biology at the University of St Andrews. He is also Deputy Director of the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance and has sat on many different funding agencies.
Frank studied Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, and then a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. After performing postdoctoral research at the Universities of Bristol and Edinburgh, he started my own group in St Andrews, which studies the development and survival of mammalian neurons.
Frank's approach to achieve this has been one of combining all three science disciplines, publishing in biological, chemical and physics-based journals.
His group have made major discoveries in understanding the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, pioneering new models and identified potential therapeutic targets. In addition, they have developed novel optical technology that allows the manipulation and imaging of cells.
Sophie is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow's Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology and a member of the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium Executive Committee.
Research within Sophie's laboratory is focussed on defining the therapeutic potential of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Specifically, the lab aim to exploit this family of cell-surface receptors to modulate neuroinflammatory processes, and in doing so, offer an approach for modifying progression of disease.
Working with a network of academic and industrial partners Sophie's group employ an array of experimental approaches which span through novel pharmacology to (chemo)genetic and neurodegenerative disease mouse models.
Dr Sophie Bradley
Miriam Scarpa is a PhD student at the Centre for Translational Pharmacology at the University of Glasgow.
Miriam's project is funded by an MRC-CASE studentship in collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company, and supervised by Dr Sophie Bradley, Prof Andrew Tobin and Dr Zeshan Ahmed.
Miriam's research focusses on the role of G protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) – particularly the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) – in the progression of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her studies employ a wide range of laboratory techniques from in vitro pharmacology to animal behaviour using the prion mouse model to recapitulate neurodegenerative disease.
Fraser is a PhD student within the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow. He is working on data from the XILO-FIST clinical trial, a study which investigates the affect of allopurinol on long-term outcomes following ischaemic stroke.
Fraser is interested in exploring the relationship between carotid artery structure, brain structure and cognition in ischaemic stroke, and developing an automated tool that will estimate vascular parameters of carotid structure including stenosis.
Additionally, he aims to investigate any effects allopurinol has on carotid artery structure, including percentage of stenosis and intima-media thickness
Dr Shuzo Sakata
Shuzo is a Reader in Circuit Neurophysiology at University of Strathclyde.
After obtaining a PhD at Kyoto University in Japan, he performed postdoctoral research at Rutgers University in the US. Since 2010, he has been leading his own group in Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacology and Biomedical Sciences at University of Strathclyde. He was promoted to Reader recently.
His group applies a wide range of in vivo approaches to investigate state-dependent and cell type-specific information processing in the brain. By taking approaches to control brain activity, so-called "neuromodulation", his group aims to develop novel intervention strategies for brain disorders including Alzheimer's disease.
Dr Gillian Hunter
Gillian is a geneticist with an interest in neuroscience.
Her PhD research (IoP, Kings College London) was part of a multi-national project to identify novel risk genes for late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Gillian then developed an interest in techniques to carry out functional analysis of Alzheimer's disease risk variants.
More recently her research has been focussed on investigating the underlying cellular mechanisms of a common childhood motor neuron disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Of particular interest to Gillian’s lab at the moment is epigenetics and DNA damage repair pathways.