Research Projects

Unravelling the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease

Awarded to:
Dr Keeley Brookes

Current award:

University of Nottingham

1 August 2017 - 31 July 2018

Full project name:

Multi-functional AriaMx real-time machine






Researchers at the University of Nottingham are using one of the world’s largest collections of Alzheimer’s DNA samples to reveal new insights into the disease

The genetics of Alzheimer’s is complex, with small changes in a numerous genes thought to influence the risk of developing the disease.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have amassed one of the world’s largest collections of DNA samples from people with Alzheimer’s, giving them considerable insight into the genetics of the disease.

This new award will increase the rate at which the Nottingham team can evaluate DNA samples and perform their cutting-edge explorations of the genetics of Alzheimer’s.

Why is this important?

There are a number of factors that are thought to influence the risk of developing dementia, including age as well as lifestyle factors such as diet and levels of physical activity.

Scientists have also discovered specific aspects of a person’s genetic makeup that play a key role in determining dementia risk.

Researchers want to find more of these risk genes so that they can better understand why some people develop diseases like Alzheimer’s while others don’t.

Genetic research is also a crucial first step in finding out more about the biological processes that underpin dementia, and highlighting new targets for future treatments.

What will they do?

This award will allow the team to purchase a new piece of equipment to work alongside an older machine, both known as PCR machines.

These machines amplify up small amounts of DNA, allowing scientists to explore how variations in the sequence of genes can influence how much of that gene is made into protein.

By exploring this, the team can understand how different gene versions could be altering cellular processes and how this could be contributing to processes involved with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Dementia is one of the world’s greatest challenges. It steals lives and leaves millions heartbroken. But we can change the future.