Research Projects

Is the cellular battery behind the link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease?

afshan headshot_good

Awarded to:
Dr Afshan Malik

Current award:

King’s College London

1 October 2020 - 30 September 2023

Full project name:

Diabetic and non-diabetic Alzheimer’s disease: studying mitochondria in post-mortem brain to understand the underlying mechanisms






Diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but the mechanisms underlying this link are not completely understood.  What we do know is that in both diabetes and Alzheimer’s, mitochondria in the cells do not work properly.

Mitochondria are components of a cell that produce energy. Inside mitochondria are small DNA molecules called mitochondrial DNA, which provide instructions for making the cell’s energy-producing machinery.

Dr Afshan Malik’s team from King’s College London have developed methods that allow them to measure mitochondrial DNA and mitochondria function. They plan to use these techniques to compare regions of the brain with and without Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

This will allow them to test the theory that the mechanisms contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s is different between people with and without diabetes, but that in both cases, mitochondrial damage is involved.

This project could lead to the development of new approaches to diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s. For example, preventing mitochondrial DNA damage and restoring mitochondrial function in people with diabetes who are at risk of Alzheimer’s.

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