How do genetic ‘switches’ effect Alzheimer’s?

Researchers at the University of Exeter will develop a method to study different cells in the brain and measure the effect genetic ‘switches’ may have on Alzheimer’s disease



Genes play an important part in dictating a person’s risk of developing dementia, and scientists now know that there are factors that can alter how our genes work.

Chemical tags can attach to sections of DNA and affect whether a particular gene is switched on or off.

In an ambitious project, Dr Emma Dempster will develop a method to study different cells in the brain and measure the effect these genetic ‘switches’ may play in Alzheimer’s disease. The results could help in the design of new treatments for the disease.


Dr Emma Dempster said:

“There are already cancer drugs that work by targeting the activity of these chemical tags, and Alzheimer’s drugs that work in a similar way could potentially have a huge impact on people’s lives.

“This funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK will allow us to reveal more about the role of this process in Alzheimer’s and help us to account for the complex composition of the brain as we work to translate our interesting scientific findings into new ways to help people affected by the disease.”

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Awarded to
Dr Emma Dempster

University of Exeter Medical School

Current Award

1 March 2018 - 29 February 2020

Full project name
Developing approaches to address neural cell heterogeneity in genomic studies of Alzheimer’s disease