What role does the tau protein play in dementia?

Dr Claire Durrant at the University of Edinburgh will investigate the role of tau, a key protein implicated in both frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researching

Causes

Dr Claire Durrant at the University of Edinburgh will investigate the role of tau, a key protein implicated in both frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Over the five-year project, Dr Durrant will investigate the role of tau in keeping synapses – the connections between brain cells – healthy and how this changes in Alzheimer’s disease.

The tau protein is an important target for future dementia treatments and understanding more about its role in Alzheimer’s disease will be key for the success of this approach.

Dr Claire Durrant is a Race Against Dementia Dyson Fellow. The Fellowship is named in recognition of inventor and entrepreneur Sir James Dyson who is supporting the initiative with funding through the James Dyson Foundation.

 

Dr Durrant will use thin slices of brain tissue kept alive in dishes, to investigate the role of normal tau in keeping synapses healthy. These slice cultures, which contain the different types of cells found in an intact brain, allowing Dr Durrant to easily test drugs and examine the sequence of changes in living tissue. This also complements her work looking at post-mortem brains, which provide a useful snapshot at the end-stages of the disease.

Looking at damage to the connections between brain cells, will help improve understanding about what aspects of this damage are caused by abnormal tau in diseases like Alzheimer’s.

 

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Awarded to
Dr Claire Durrant

Institution
University of Edinburgh

Current Award
£499,895.04

Dates
1 September 2019 - 31 August 2024

Full project name
The role of tau in synapse survival and its relevance to Alzheimer’s disease