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Prize Highlights Potential Threat of Microglia Cells
May 28 2020 Read 456 Times
Leading dementia research charity Alzheimer’s Research UK has awarded Dr Amy Lloyd from the University of Dundee the Jean Corsan prize for the best scientific paper by an early-career researcher. She will receive a £2,000 personal prize, supported by the Jean Corsan Foundation, for her pioneering research into the brain’s resident immune cells, microglia and their possible role in furthering diseases like Alzheimer’s.
In healthy brains microglia act to remove waste produced normally in the brain as well as the toxic proteins that build-up in Alzheimer’s and other diseases. Dr Lloyd’s research paper shows that for the brain to recover from damage, overactive microglia need to die so that more helpful microglia can move in and carry out their job; if the process of microglia death goes wrong, it leads to harmful levels of brain inflammation and contributes to diseases that cause dementia.
The brain’s immune system is seen as the new frontier in tackling neurodegenerative diseases and this process is now being explored as a treatment option for diseases like multiple sclerosis.
“The brain’s immune system is complex, with microglia acting as both a critical defence mechanism and a key driver of damage to the brain,” said Dr Lloyd. “With the state-of-the-art facilities here in Dundee I have the chance to thoroughly investigate microglia and better understand how they contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s.
“Winning the Jean Corsan prize is the highlight of my career so far. As soon as I heard I rang my mum! It’s an honour to receive this award by Alzheimer’s Research UK.”
Dr Carol Routledge, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said, “Making new breakthroughs in understanding the complex causes of diseases that cause dementia requires dedication and innovative thinking. It’s great that we have young, inspiring researchers in Scotland working on getting us one step closer to changing people’s lives. We congratulate Dr Lloyd on her well-deserved win.”
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