What is your current role in EPAD?
My current role in EPAD is the PI of the EPAD Bioresource. This is the sample collection that has been taken from EPAD participants from across Europe and is held at the University of Edinburgh. The Bioresource is responsible for the safe storage of these samples and for sending these samples out for analysis. I am also the chair of the Sample Access Committee which reviews all the requests for the use of these samples from both industry and academia. We aim to ensure that this precious collection of samples is put to the very best use towards the prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia.
What did you do prior to joining EPAD?
I am a basic scientist and have worked in many areas of research throughout my career including Cystic Fibrosis, transposable elements in maize and Rheumatoid Arthritis but my most recent research was conducted on Prion diseases. I have worked on these diseases for over 30 years throughout the BSE and vCJD epidemics both as a basic scientist and advisor on government and scientific committees. It was a challenging period when we were never far from the attention of the press and public as well as the scientific communities. The Prion diseases are diseases of a misfolded protein in the brain and other tissues and lately my research interest has spread into the other diseases of protein misfolding including Alzheimer’s disease. Although different proteins are involved in these diseases there are many commonalities in mechanisms in the brain underlying the early events of these different diseases. My research aimed to understand these early events and how to prevent the neurodegenerative outcome and subsequent clinical disease.
Tell us a bit about the institution/company/organisation you work for.
I work in different locations of the University of Edinburgh. Partly at the Centre for Dementia Prevention of the University of Edinburgh where an enthusiastic and multidisciplinary group are all dedicated to the aim of preventing dementia. The Bioresource team is located in a different part of the University. A small and very dedicated team are located at the Roslin Institute where we also get valuable support and assistance from Roslin staff. It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with both centres.