Scientists at the University of Southampton have benefitted from £100k of funding from Alzheimer’s Research UK, the country’s leading dementia research charity. The award is for new equipment that will support pioneering dementia research projects taking place across the south coast.
Dementia researchers in Southampton are at the cutting edge of scientific research into diseases like Alzheimer’s. In recent years they have helped make huge strides in understanding the diseases that cause dementia by revealing important biological processes driving damage to the brain.
Many of their promising findings have resulted from studying samples of brain tissue generously donated by people who lived with dementia. To properly observe these samples, scientists have to prepare incredibly thin slices of tissue onto slides and analyse what they’re seeing under a microscope. This process can take many hours of labour-intensive work. Now, with the support of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the University of Southampton has been able to invest in a high-tech piece of scanning equipment that is set to dramatically speed up this process.
Dr Delphine Boche, Associate Professor in Neuroimmunopathology, secured the funding for the University. She said:
“We are very grateful to Alzheimer’s Research UK for this award. The new scanner will allow us to capture digital images of brain samples at least twenty times faster than it has taken in the past. The system not only cuts down the time it takes our scientists to do this by hand, but it produces high quality images of brain tissue that can be used in analysis and shared electronically with other researchers, wherever they are in the world.
“As a leading centre for dementia research, having access to the most up-to-date technology is vital as we work to better understand how dementia affects the brain. The scanner is already being put to good use and will be a real boost to dementia research here at the University of Southampton and elsewhere in the region.”
Dr Laura Phipps of Alzheimer’s Research UK said:
“We are very glad to be able to support the vital work of dementia researchers in Southampton. Identifying changes that take place in the brain is crucial if we are to better understand the diseases that cause dementia and find new ways to tackle them. We hope that this new equipment has a lasting legacy at the university, supporting dementia research projects for many years to come.
“There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, including over 2,500 people in Southampton alone. Alzheimer’s Research UK relies entirely on the generosity of the public to fund its research and we are really pleased to be able to put that support to good use in Southampton. Research is the key to providing a better future for people with dementia and their families and we need to see more investment in research so that more of this important work can take place.”