Race Against Dementia Fellow
University of Cambridge, UK
Dr Maura Malpetti is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Frontotemporal dementia and Related Disorders. She earned her PhD in Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, where she investigated in vivo pathology markers in tauopathies. She originally trained in Italy for a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Cognitive Neurosciences, where she began to specialise in PET imaging and neurodegenerative disorders.
Maura received the RAD Fellowship in 2021 for her research, which encompasses a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative diseases. She is developing prognostic tools for the early detection of dementia to enable better clinical trial outcomes. Maura also enjoys organising research outreach events aimed at people with dementia and their families.
“The RAD Fellowship lets us embrace collaborative and fast-paced attitude – with a motorsports-inspired perspective – in our own research.”
Dr Maura Malpetti
Most dementias are degenerative with a build-up of harmful junk proteins and chronic subtle brain inflammation. Anti-inflammatory treatments might slow or prevent decline, but clinical trials of new treatments need effective tests to improve prediction of progression and measure inflammation. Maura’s research clarifies the role of inflammation in dementia and symptom progression, testing special brain scans and blood tests to measure and predict the illness.
Maura focusses on illness caused by frontotemporal lobar degeneration, a poorly understood group of conditions that cause both dementia and movement problems. She uses innovative methods to measure inflammation in specific brain areas, including the blood of volunteers, who are followed over many years and validates these with new tests using brain tissue from volunteers who have donated their brains for research.