Oxford student takes to the stage at UK’s top dementia research conference

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By Philip Tubby | Wednesday 15 March 2017

Over 400 of the country’s leading dementia researchers will hear from University of Oxford PhD student Anne Hedegaard today as she shares her latest findings at the UK’s largest annual gathering of dementia researchers.

Anne will be talking about her experiences studying an important genetic component of Alzheimer’s disease at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference 2017 in Aberdeen.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity, funding more than £27m of pioneering research into the condition around the country. The charity’s annual conference will see Anne join scientists from across the UK to discuss developments in their work towards better ways of tackling dementia.

Anne, whose research is funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, is using Nobel prize-winning research techniques to understand how a genetic risk factor affects brain health.

Anne said:

“Our genetic code plays an important role in our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and researchers have now identified around 30 different genes linked to changes in risk. The gene I’m studying is called APOE. APOE was the first to be linked to Alzheimer’s risk and has more impact than any of the genes discovered since. Despite its importance, we still don’t fully understand how APOE influences the brain’s biology to affect a person’s chances of developing the disease.

“My work in Oxford uses stem cell techniques to study how APOE affects brain cells we grow in the lab. We have developed powerful new methods to reveal processes involved and I hope that presenting my latest findings at today’s conference inspires new ideas that could one day help to tackle this disease. It is very exciting to speak about my work to such a large gathering of leading dementia scientists.”

Across the world, scientists are taking different approaches to help people with dementia and the Alzheimer’s Research UK Conference 2017 is bringing together experts from a range of research disciplines.

Dr Laura Phipps from the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Dementia is a heartbreaking condition, not just for those affected but for their friends and families. There are 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and around 8,500 in Oxfordshire alone. We are committed to improving the lives of people with dementia through research and it’s great to see that progress is being made by Anne and her colleagues in Oxford. This conference aims to forge collaborations and allow researchers to share ideas and expertise to help us make progress more quickly.”

About the author

Philip Tubby