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Two Race Against Dementia Fellows have been awarded (UKDRI) Key Questions Funding. 

From twenty-four applications only eight projects have been selected for the first funding stage of a new UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) funding programme.  

Dr Claire Durrant and Dr Bhuvaneish Selvaraj are part of two of the teams working on these ambitious projects. 

The Key Questions funding programme specifically sought pioneering projects with elements of higher risk, which may not receive funding from standard funding programmes. 

Dr Bhuvaneish Selvaraj works in a team that is investigating a protein called TDP-43. This protein acts like a quality controller in the brain. It helps to control what proteins are made and manages how cells will respond under stress. But when this protein is found in the wrong location of a cell it can stop cells working properly. 

This new funding will allow the team to make models that simulate this incorrect location of TDP-43 to dissect the details about how it can cause neurons to die.  

Synapses are the connections between brain cells, and they are often affected by diseases causing dementia.  

Alongside her colleagues, Dr Claire Durrant is studying why some people can have an unhealthy build-up of harmful proteins in the brain and yet have no memory loss. The reason may lie in the make-up of their synapses.  

This project will take a deeper look at the synapses of these people to understand how they may hold resilience to dementia symptoms.  

The UK DRI, headed up by Race Against Dementia’s Scientific Advisor Prof Siddharthan Chandran, is dedicated to tackling dementia.  

Consisting of seven centres spread across the UK with a central hub in London, the UK DRI’s structure is designed to connect internationally leading experts in dementia research to work collaboratively to stop dementia.  

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professor siddharthan chandran scientific advisor for race against dementia
Prof Siddharthan Chandran, UK DRI Director

‘I am delighted to announce this new funding programme, which underscores our commitment to pushing the boundaries of dementia and neurodegenerative research by supporting bold and innovative projects which tackle the most pressing unanswered questions in the field. I would like to congratulate the recipients of the Stage I funding.’ – Prof Siddharthan Chandran, UK DRI Director

This award enables exploration and subsequent progress in the Race Against Dementia. 

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Dementia impacts memory, thinking and behaviour and includes several types of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia.


The Race Against Dementia Fellowship Programme funds and supports the world’s most promising scientific talent. We back promising research projects that will accelerate progress towards a cure and treatment.


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