Research Projects

Understanding the role of metal particles in Alzheimer’s and their potential for diagnosis and treatment

Awarded to:
Dr James Everett

Current award:

Keele University

1 September 2022 - 30 April 2023

Full project name:

Defining metal biochemistry in Alzheimer’s: A key step towards effective diagnosis and treatment?






Researchers at Keele University will develop ways to ‘see’ iron in the brain and explore how metals could be used as treatment targets and indicators of Alzheimer’s disease.

Metals are important for healthy brain function but researchers have found unusually high levels of iron and copper in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Dr James Everett at Keele University found that the iron and copper cluster around amyloid plaques that build up in the brains of people with the disease. He is researching why these metals are found around the plaques and how this might be linked to disease progression.

Iron particles in the brain are magnetic. This allows Dr Everett to see the iron in a person’s brain using MRI scans. He will also visit a world-leading X-ray facility to see how brain cells interact with the iron and copper particles in more detail.

Dr Everett and his team have also developed a new kind of microscopy at Keele University, which allows them to see brain cells and detect magnetic activity from iron in the brain at the same time. Using this new method Dr Everett will be able to map where and how much iron builds up in different parts of the brain in Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers do not yet fully understand the role of metals in diseases like Alzheimer’s. With the help of the Early Career Researcher Bridge Fund, Dr Everett’s research is shedding light on how metals affect brain cells and amyloid build-up. This research will provide insight into the potential of treating Alzheimer’s by targeting metal particles with drugs, and whether brain scans that highlight metal particles could help to identify people with the disease.

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