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Talks and Q&A with Prof Tara Spires-Jones and Sarah Hesse from our Scotland Research Network.

This session focussed on research into synapses, the vital connections between nerve cells in the brain. Our speakers shared how synapses are damaged in Alzheimer’s disease, and how potential treatments they’re studying could try and protect them from this damage.


Prof Tara Spires-Jones

Prof Tara Spires-Jones is the Deputy Director at the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences and UK Dementia Research Institute Group Leader at the University of Edinburgh. In dementia, memory declines because synapses and neurons become dysfunctional and die. Prof Spires-Jones leads a team of researchers working to understand how synapses die, in order to develop effective strategies to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease. She will share some of the groups’ latest discoveries linking Alzheimer’s risk genes to synapse vulnerability.

Sarah Hesse

Sarah Hesse is a PhD student at the Centre for Translational Pharmacology, University of Glasgow. She will talk about her research into a key player at synapse connection points, called the M1 receptor. Her work in the lab has found that activating this receptor using new types of drugs can help to restore communication at synapses, in mice with features of Alzheimer’s disease. She will share how this work could lead to new treatments that can reconnect nerve cells, and benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease.

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