Research Projects

Shedding light on memory loss in Alzheimer’s

Awarded to:
Dr Szu-Han Wang

Current award:

University of Edinburgh

9 September 2019 - 8 September 2022

Full project name:

Using optogenetics to understand memory retrieval in APP overexpressed and in APP knock-in mice






Our memories are physically stored in the brain in cells called memory engram cells.

These memories can be lost in Alzheimer’s disease, having a huge impact on people’s lives.

It’s unclear whether the memory problems in Alzheimer’s are because these cells fail to store memories, or because they can no longer fetch the stored information. In this project, Dr Wang’s team will shed light on this problem.

If researchers can solve this puzzle, they might be able to unlock new drug targets.

This is a valuable steppingstone in finding treatments to help people keep hold of their precious memories.

What will they do?

Working with mice that have features of Alzheimer’s disease, the team will use cutting-edge technology to control memory cells with light.

Since different brain mechanisms control storing and finding memories, the team will be able to use this new method to investigate how memory loss happens in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Understanding how memories are lost at this early stage has the greatest potential for the discovery of drug targets to stop memory loss before it has a significant impact on people’s lives.

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