Organiser – Adam Smith

I was born in the north, a long time ago. I wanted to write books, but ended up working in the NHS, and at the Department of Health. I am now Programme Director in the Office of the NIHR National Director for Dementia Research (which probably sounds more important than it is) at University College London. I have led a number of initiatives to improve dementia research (which happens to include the Dementia Researcher, Join Dementia Research and ENRICH), as well as pursuing my own research interests, and driven by a passion to better engage the public in research. In my spare time, I grow vegetables, build Lego and spend most of my time drinking too much coffee and trying to squeezing technology into my house.

Watch Adam on the Chatathon - from start to finish here

Special Guest - Wendy Mitchell

Wendy was diagnosed with young onset dementia on the 31st July 2014 at the age of 58 years old.

She retired early from the NHS having worked as a non-clinical team leader for 20 years.  Post-diagnosis, she was shocked by the lack of awareness, both in the community and clinical world, so she now spends all of her time travelling around the country raising awareness and encouraging others to embrace her passion for research. Wendy is an Alzheimer's Society Ambassador, blogger and member of 3 Nations Dementia Working Group​ she also wrote an amazing bestselling book 'Somebody I Used to Know' a Richard and Judy Book Club Pick 2019 Paperback. With humour, truth and grace, this book her book gives a unique insight into what it's like to live with Alzheimer's disease.

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Special Guest - Christ Roberts & Jayne Goodrick

Chris Roberts and Jayne Goodrick are from Wales. Chris was diagnosed with mixed dementia in early 2012 but has not let this diagnosis get in the way of leading a full life.

He and his amazing wife Jayne, spend most of their time promoting and providing education to others about dementia. Chris regularly give talks on what it’s like to live with dementia and how research plays an important role in unlocking new treatments and better care, supported by Jayne who provides unique insights as someone living with the disease in a different way. Together they believe in dementia rights, inclusion, co-production and the promotion of better services for everyone living with dementia.

Chris is an Ambassador for the UK Alzheimer’s Society, Join Dementia Research Champion, Affiliate member of Dementia Action Alliance UK, Honorary Lecturer, Bangor University, Wales and a Member of the NICE Dementia Clinical Guideline Review Committee.

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Special Guest - Timothy Parry

Tim has overseen the growth of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s communications, establishing its press office in 2008. Helping to make the charity a leading voice on dementia science in the UK. Tim’s role is responsible for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s media, health information and science communications functions, as well as its digital and social media work and branding.

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MEET THE RESEARCHERS

Dr Aitana Sogorb Esteve

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London
I am looking for novel biomarkers and biomarker panels to diagnose the different aspects of frontotemporal dementia.

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Dr Alys Griffiths

Senior Research Fellow, Leeds Beckett University
I do care homes research, including a secondment as an embedded researcher in a care home one day per week. I'm interested in outcome measures, from the perspective of their development and validation, and ensuring their appropriate use, allowing people with dementia the chance to participate in research wherever possible.

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Dr Amanda Heslegrave

Senior Research Fellow, UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London
I collaborate with clinical researchers to measure biomarkers of neurodegeneration in a variety of biofluids, most topical right now are blood biomarkers which we are able to measure with the use of super sensitive assay technology.

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Dr Anna Volkmer

Speech and Language Therapy Researcher, University College London / University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
I am interested in speech and language and decision making in all dementias, and particularly rarer ones such as language led dementias (primary progressive aphasia). I am particularly interested in development of interventions to support people and their families in communication and interaction, in order to maintain relationships, independence and QoL.

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Brendan Commane

PhD student, Royal College of Art, London
I am researching the environment in care homes for people with dementia. I will be using technology to support a more engaging and stimulating environment and also researching the power of soft toys or a textile item as a means of comfort, security and conversation. I am hoping to bring the soft item and the technology together. My research will involve family, carers and the residents all working together and inclusively.

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Dr Catherine Quinn

Lecturer in Dementia Studies, Centre of Applied Dementia Studies, University of Bradford
My research focuses on improving the quality of life of those affected by dementia. First, through gaining a better understanding of the experiences of those affected by dementia and the factors that affect their quality of life. Second, by developing interventions to improve the quality of life of those affected by dementia. I am a co-investigator on the IDEAL programme, which is a large-scale cohort study of living well with dementia.

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Dr Christina Toomey

Post-doctoral Research Associate, University College London
My research focuses on the proteomics and lipidomics of neurodegenerative diseases and the link to the pathology present. My PhD was on the role TREM2 Gene plays in neurodegeneration too.

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Dr Claire Durrant

Race Against Dementia Fellow, University of Edinburgh
My work seeks to understand how synapses, vital communication points between nerve cells, are damaged in Alzheimer's disease. I am particularly interested in how tau protein works in healthy brain and how (and why) this goes wrong in disease. I use brain slice cultures (thin pieces of living brain in dishes) to test drugs and watch disease-like changes over time.

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Professor Claire Surr

Professor of Dementia Studies, Director of the Centre for Dementia Research, Leeds Beckett University
I work in dementia care and services research. I've recently completed the DCM EPIC Study, What Works Study (components of effective dementia training) and CanDem Study (experiences of cancer treatment and care by people with dementia).

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Dr Clarissa Giebel

Research Fellow, University of Liverpool
My research is looks at how people with dementia can be supported to live independently at home, and how we can address inequalities that might hinder them from getting the care they need.

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Dr Courtney Genge

Program Adviser for the federal ageing research program, National Research Council Canada

I have spent the last few years researching Dementia in the emergency department using a human factors framework to understand the safety implications of receiving care in this setting. My work is grounded in participatory research approaches and utilises co-production and collaborative research partnerships with people living with dementia.

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Dr Danielle Newby

Post Doctoral Researcher, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
My research is focused on using existing data such as GP records to find drugs used to treat other diseases such as hypertension that could be used for dementia prevention and the possibility of dementia prevention using repurposed drugs.

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Dr Emily Maguire

Research Associate, UK Dementia Research Institute at Cardiff University
I research the use of human stem cells which I differentiate into brain cells to understand the pathology of Alzheimer's disease.

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Dr Emily Oliver

Consultant Admiral Nurse, Dementia UK
In my clinical academic doctorate I explored how the work system of an acute hospital impacted nursing staff's capacity to care for people with dementia. The findings indicated that nurses are driven by the priorities of the organisation, which unfortunately is not high quality dementia care but patient flow and patient safety initiatives. Nurses struggle with feelings of guilt and fear with regards to their work, guilt for not providing good care but fear of not completing the task "visible" to the organisation. The research raises questions about nursing autonomy and decision making, particularly with regards to the organisation of their work and also how we make dementia care tangible.

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Eric Dyne

Graduate Student, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA
My research focuses on the use of mild-hypothermia to disrupt beta-amyloid plaques as a mechanism to promote clearance by microglia. I'm exploring the potential use of magnetothermal therapy to disrupt and treat neuroinflammation, beta-amyloid and effects on microglia.

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Dr Fiona Marshall

Research Fellow, University of Nottingham
My research looks at the design and delivery of dementia care services in remote and rural areas of the UK. Proportionally, there are far more older people living with dementia and spousal carers then in urban areas, yet less attention and funding is afforded to these areas. By adopting a more spatial policy approach to the design and delivery of dementia focused services, my work seeks to challenge the dominance of universal "one size fits all" approach which underpins the majority of dementia-friendly services.

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Professor Fiona Matthews

Professor of Epidemiology, Newcastle University
I work in dementia epidemiology and public health. Undertaking large population based studies to investigate changes in the population who get dementia, and then also the impact on people with dementia and their carers.

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Dr Gemma Lace

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science and Lead of Public Engagement and Outreach, University of Salford
I research the role of autophagy impairments in Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia, the role of obesity in dementia risk and how exosomes may shed light on underlying disease mechanisms and be used as diagnostic biomarkers. A large part of my job is raising dementia awareness through outreach and public engagement events.

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Dr Guliz Ozcan

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University College London
I work at the interception of sleep and Alzheimer's disease. Sleep problems are one of the earliest symptoms of AD and often arise years before the cognitive deficits.Using zebrafish, we have recently shown that Aβ acutely and reversibly enhances or suppresses sleep as a function of oligomer length.

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Dr Hazel Hall-Roberts

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford
I work on risk genes for Alzheimer's disease that are expressed highly in microglia, and I study them in a dish using human induced pluripotent stem cell models of microglia.

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Imogen Swift

Research Assistant, UK Dementia Research Institute at University College London
I am involved in developing novel fluid biomarkers for frontotemporal dementia (FTD). I have a particular focus on developing CSF and blood-based markers for genetic FTD caused by GRN mutations. I work in both the Fluid Biomarker team at the DRI with Amanda Heslegrave and the FTD@UCL team at the DRC with Jon Rohrer. I am also involved in managing the biobank for a number of our dementia studies including GENFI which involves coordinating sample collection from 27 sites across the world.

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Dr James Quinn

Neurology Research Fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Neurology, USA
I study neuropeptides in neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases to unravel disease mechanisms, working to identify new diagnostic biomarkers, and novel therapeutic targets.

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Dr Josie Jenkinson

Consultant Psychiatrist for Older People, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
I am an NHS doctor and researcher, focusing on long-term specialist continuing care and health services research. I am particularly interested in deliberate self harm in older adults, delirium and dementia care pathways.

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Dr Kat Algar-Skaife

Research Fellow, DSDC Wales Research Centre, Bangor University
I am a dementia care researcher with a particular interest in the benefits of the arts. Most of my work is in care homes but also working with people living with young onset dementia the community. I am also the lead for Join Dementia Research for Wales & co-lead of Research Methods, Public and Professional Engagement and Involvement work stream in Wales Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research.

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Professor Katie Lunnon

Professor of Dementia Genomics, University of Exeter
I work in the field of epigenetics and gene regulation. Our studies look in the brain to see if we can identify epigenetic differences in individuals with dementia as well as in the blood with the hope of identifying new biomarkers. We initially focused on Alzheimer's disease but are now expanding our studies to look at other dementias as well. Additionally we lead a number of functional studies, exploring proteins, iPSCs and gene editing in cell lines.

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Dr Keeley Brookes

Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University
I lead the DNA extraction and genetic analysis for the Brains for Dementia Research project. Our work looks at genetic associations and polygenic risks scores, with the aim to find a common SNP panel that can be used alongside environmental / lifestyle factors to predict those as high risk of dementia and lead towards novel and personalised interventions.

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Dr Kellyn Lee

Research Fellow, University of Southampton
My research looks at the importance of everyday objects and how they can support and maintain identity and independence in dementia care. Currently collaborating with a care organisation to design, develop and implement a training programme with material citizenship, functional objects for meaningful lives.

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Dr Laura Booi

Research Associate, Population Health Science Institute, Newcastle University
My research brings together international dementia advocacy, and patient-public-involvement, engaging both the next generation of dementia focused leaders as well as marginalized, often unheard voices affected by dementia. As a trained social gerontologist, I have spent the last dozen years working towards understanding and making long-term residential care for dementia better for those working and living in this sector.

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Leah Hewer-Richards

PhD Student, University of Southampton
I am researching the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the provision of continence care in residential care homes for people with a dementia. I will be looking at how fears around contamination may have changed continence care practices, particularly in relation to restricted access to PPE. I will also be looking at stigma associated with continence care and working within a care home during the pandemic.

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Dr Leonidas Chouliaras

Clinical Lecturer in Old Age Psychiatry, University of Cambridge
I am a clinician and epigeneticist, focused on Lewy Body Dementia. Working both on clinical cohorts, studying DNA methylation in blood samples as well as in autopsy brain tissues, isolating neurons with Lewy Bodies using laser-microdissection and comparing the epigenetic profiles with healthy looking neurons from the same donor or from controls.

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Dr Lindsey Sinclair

Clinical Research Fellow, University of Bristol
I’m a psychiatrist specialising in older adults, although I’m also qualified to treat younger adults too. My research focuses on psychiatric manifestations of dementia and psychiatric illness as a possible risk factor for the later development of dementia. I’m particularly interested in the complex relationship between depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Professor Louise Serpell

Professor of Biochemistry, University of Sussex
I lead a team of researchers, investigating the causes of dementia, protein misfolding mechanisms, structure and toxicity. With a particular interest in Neuronal damage and the APOE genes.

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Dr Lucy Russell

Research Fellow, Dementia Research Centre, University College London
I work with Dr Rohrer on a project called GENFI that aims to follow individuals with a genetic form of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). My current role is to act as the FTD Prevention Initiative (FPI) co-ordinator, working with GENFI and other large cohort studies across the world as well as pharmaceutical companies and consortium groups to get as many clinical trials up and running as soon as possible. Additionally I am involved in recruiting individuals to the one FTD trial currently running in the UK. My specific interests and PhD looked at social interactions with individuals with Dementia, as well as trying to developing novel eye-tracking tasks that are more sensitive to change earlier in the disease course than what current assessments currently are able to do.

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Dr Marianne Coleman

Clinical Vision Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
My research looks at how people with dementia see, and how we can help them look after their eyes while living with dementia. Ensuring people living with dementia have the best eyesight possible helps to reduce their risk of falling and makes it more likely they can keep interacting with family, friends, and doing their day to day activities they enjoy. This helps people to stay living at home and doing things independently for longer.

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Professor Marion Lynch

Visiting Professor of Dementia Care, University of West London
I work on the frameworks informing how we think about designing dementia care and in particular how the arts can help.

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Dr Mark Dallas

Associate Professor Neuroscience, University of Reading
My work looks at non neuronal cells and their potential to combat Alzheimer's. Cellular work looking a ion channels on glial cells and changes in their function long before clinical presentation. In addition, we are looking at the ability of carbon monoxide to suppress amyloid toxicity and be a neuroprotectant.

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Professor Martin Knapp

Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, London School of Economics
I am Professor of Health and Social Care Policy & Professorial Research Fellow in the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC; formerly PSSRU). Since 2009, I have also been Director of the School for Social Care Research, part of the NIHR. My main research interests are in the areas of social care, child and adult mental health, dementia and autism. Much of my work uses economic arguments and evidence to inform policy discussion and influence practice development. My research has wide-ranging impacts on policy and practice in a number of fields.

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Dr Martina Bocchetta

Senior Research Fellow, Dementia Research Centre, University College London
With funding from Alzheimer's Society, I investigate the changes that occur in the brain in the genetic forms of frontotemporal dementia. I use different neuroimaging techniques to measure these changes on MRIs, hoping to identify markers of disease onset and progression to be used in clinical trials.

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Mica Clarke

PhD Candidate, University College London
I am investigating new ways to track the progression of disease in a form of dementia called frontotemporal dementia (FTD). I am using a type of brain imaging to do this called PET imaging (positron emission tomography), which allows us to look at certain proteins in the brain via brain scans that might be involved in the disease process.

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Monica Leverton

PhD Student, Division of Psychiatry, University College London
My PhD research uses an ethnographic approach to explore the role of homecare workers in supporting independence at home in people living with dementia. My work has also looked at the training and support needs of homecare workers who provide care to people living with dementia, to inform a training intervention for the homecare sector..

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Dr Naaheed Mukadam

Senior Research Fellow, Division of Psychiatry, University College London
I research ethnic differences in dementia risk, pathways to diagnosis and dementia care.

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Dr Nadine Mirza

Postgraduate Researcher, University of Manchester
I work in Dementia Health Services research. I'm trying to improve the diagnostic process of dementia for ethnic minorities and to make dementia services more accessible for them. My main focus has been culturally adapting cognitive tests and working with British South Asians.

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Natasha Clarke

PhD Researcher, St George's University of London
I am investigating early detection of Alzheimer's disease in spoken language, using machine learning to find subtle changes that may help spot signs of disease.

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Dr Nathan Davies

Senior Research Fellow, University College London
I conduct research support family carers of people living with dementia who are towards the end of life. With Dr Nuriye Kupeli, I have conducted a Covid-19 study developing a decision aid to support family carers having to make rapid decisions about care for a relative who has dementia and has become rapidly unwell with covid-19 (e.g. hospitalisation, visiting etc).

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Dr Nuriye Kupeli

Senior Research Fellow, Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department, University College London
I conduct research support family carers of people living with dementia who are towards the end of life. Along with Dr Nathan Davies, I have conducted a Covid-19 study developing a decision aid to support family carers having to make rapid decisions about care for a relative who has dementia and has become rapidly unwell with Covid-19 (e.g. hospitalisation, visiting etc).

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Paul Brownbill

Insight Manager, Richmond Fellowship
I am at the end of a PhD study which looks at caring for people who have dementia in community hospitals. The study details everyday decision making of people who work in community hospitals, looking it from an ethnometholodogical perspective, which takes into consideration the context as an important aspect of the decision. I now work for a mental health charity as a manager of their research and impact, and insight section.

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Dr Petra Proitsi

Alzheimer's Research UK Post Doctoral Research Fellow, King's College London
I am investigating the association of modifiable risk factors such as blood metabolites, with Alzheimer's disease using large genetic and moods datasets.

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Dr Rachel Daly

Professional and Practice Development Facilitator, Dementia UK
I am leading an Appreciative Inquiry study to understand the everyday decisions that people living with dementia and communication difficulties make and share in care homes. Also how and with whom they share those decisions. Participants (people living with dementia and staff and family care partners) designed and implemented interventions to maintain and improve shared everyday decision-making practice.

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Dr Sam Moxon

Research Associate, The University of Manchester
I am a biomaterials scientist seeking to apply biomedical engineering principals to the study of dementia. I work in Prof Nigel Hooper's research group generating 3D culture platforms for probing the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Dementia.

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Dr Sana Suri

Alzheimer's Society Research Fellow, University of Oxford
I use neuroimaging markers of cardiovascular / lifestyle to research risk for dementia; looking at prevention; epidemiology; heart-brain link and vascular ageing.

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Dr Sarah Ryan

Alzheimer's Society Research Fellow, University of Manchester
I am investigating mechanisms of neurodegeneration in C9orf72 FTD, particularly those caused by the dipeptides arising from the C9 expansion. (science stuff).

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Sarah Wallcook

PhD Student, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
My research focuses on how everyday technology shapes, facilitates and hinders the everyday life of people with dementia, with a particular interest in rural contexts. My PPI activities work in partnership with the Focus on Dementia Network group in Cumbria and are aimed at complementing and supporting the wider participatory ecosystem of the rural area in which they take place.

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Dr Siobhan Reilly

Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University
I research inequalities of health and social care for people living with dementia and people with severe mental illness. Over the years, the goal of my research programme has been to improve the quality of care and the evidence base for the delivery of health and social care services for these groups. In October 2020 I start a new role as Director of the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies and Chair in Applied Dementia Research, Faculty of Health Studies, University of Bradford.

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Dr Terry Quinn

Senior Lecturer and Consultant, University of Glasgow
I am coordinating editor of Cochrane dementia. Leading important systematic reviews and meta-analysis in dementia research; with the Cochrane group working to raise standards in research design & reporting, using evidence to challenge the dementia research status-quo.

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Dr Timothy Rittman

Snr Clinical Research Associate / Neurology Consultant, Addenbrookes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust & University of Cambridge
I am a consultant Neurologist, working to understand the progress of dementia through the brain by examining brain networks using neuroimaging, with cognitive data and pathology.

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Dr Victoria Shepherd

Research Associate, Cardiff University
I am involved in the design and conduct of clinical trials, with a particular interest in the methodological aspects of care home research. My research primarily focuses on addressing the ethical and practical challenges of involving adults who lack capacity to consent in research, and developing interventions to support decision-making by consultees/legal representatives.

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