Interdisciplinary Dementia and Ageing Centre

Research themes

Discover our 4 main research themes and the staff working on them.

Basic and translational science

This theme brings together experts in cell biology, vascular pathophysiology and neuroinflammation.

We aim for a molecular-level understanding of dementia biology by investigating areas such as:

  • the maternal influence on fetal cerebrovascular development
  • the effects of diabetes and anti-diabetic drugs on models of tauopathy
  • the toxicity of different tau species

Specific expertise in this area includes:

  • neuronal and glial biology
  • cerebrovascular drainage pathways
  • the role of neuroinflammation in neurodegeneration, brain ageing and dementia

Many different research fields work across this interdisciplinary theme, in collaboration with clinical services and the pharmaceutical industry. Our work is supported by the University's biofilm, millifluidics, mass spectrometry and imaging facilities. 

Key contacts working on basic and translational science

Diagnosis and prognosis

This theme links basic science to clinical science for evaluation of dementia diagnosis and provision of care.

  • dementia diagnostic imaging, with particular expertise in structural and functional imaging, modelling and scientific computing
  • a neuropsychology team that provides  clinical diagnostic support to the region, including diagnostic test development in a clinical environment
  • diagnostic and support services for all types of dementia, including young-onset dementia

Established research cohorts provide a wealth of clinical, imaging and neuropathological data, including prospectively acquired biobank samples.

Key contacts working on diagnosis and prognosis

  • Dr Angela Darekar (University Hospital Southampton)
  • Dr Sofia Michopoulou (University Hospital Southampton)

Clinical trials and therapeutics

Our members are working on clinical trials on dementia and neurological conditions, including international trials of investigational therapeutic compounds.

Our Neurosciences Research Group conducts phase 2 and 3 trials on a range of dementias through the NIHR clinical research facility at University Hospital Southampton.

We have developed strong regional, national and international links through our involvement in trials. The Clinical Research Network provides strong support for trials infrastructure in the region. A regional network of memory clinics supports recruitment to trials.

Key contacts working on clinical trials and therapeutics

Dementia care and prevention

This theme focuses on people living with dementia, and the dementia workforce delivering care to them. In this area we:

  • develop new, user-centred ways to improve care and outcomes 
  • provide expertise to influence local and national policy
  • carry out consultancy work

Our work benefits from strong relationships with the NHS, social care and third sector organisations. Organisations we work with include:

  • the NHS Clinical Networks
  • regional commissioners
  • the NHS Scientist Training Programme
  • the Academic Health Science Network
  • the Alzheimer’s Society

We are also part of the Wessex NIHR Applied Research Collaboration.

Within this theme we also explore the influence of early-life factors in the development of dementia and cognitive impairment.

Early life factors, including socio-economic factors, nutrition, environmental factors, from conception, are associated with the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment in later life. This theme aims to explore those early life factors and their effects on disease risk factors in later life, with a view to develop new ways to reduce risk factors and prevent dementia development. 

Key contacts working on dementia care and prevention