University researcher takes up prestigious post

Thursday 29 August 2013

Professor Frank Gunn-MooreA University of St Andrews researcher is to take up a prestigious role in a major new group aimed at tackling dementia in Scotland.

Professor Frank Gunn-Moore, professor of molecular neurobiology in the University’s School of Biology, has been appointed an Executive Member of the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium (SDRC) launched this week.

A collaboration between researchers at universities across Scotland, government and practicing medical professionals, the new group is the first consortium to focus on dementia.

The SDRC includes members engaged in all aspects of dementia research: science and technology; clinical, health and applied practice; psychology and humanities; and social and population. It will work to represent Scotland’s dementia research interests at a national, UK, European and worldwide level. Administrative support is provided by Alzheimer Scotland.

Professor Gunn-Moore has previous experience in successful research pooling initiatives in this area.  Recently he welcomed a new super-resolution microscope to the University of St Andrews which will allow him to investigate biological processes at an unparalleled level of detail, such as how neural pathways are affected in Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Gunn-Moore said: “With the complexities involved in understanding and treating dementia, there has been a growing sense within the research community that there is scope to improve working between all the disciplines involved and create a vibrant Scottish Dementia Research community.

“The formation of the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium is a major step forward in this approach, as this network uniquely will link research occurring in universities, research institutes and hospitals together and focus this combined expertise on one of the major health issues for not just Scotland but globally.”

He will join researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Stirling, West of Scotland, and the University of the Highlands and Islands on the group.

Angiolina Foster, Scottish Government Director of Health and Social Care Integration, officially launched the new consortium, which will mark a new multi-disciplinary approach to dementia, on Wednesday 28 August.

The SDRC will be co-chaired by Professor Emma Reynish, Chair of Dementia Research at the University of Stirling and Consultant Physician in NHS Fife, and Dr Peter Connelly, Co-Director of the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry at the University of Dundee and Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry in NHS Tayside.

Professor Emma Reynish said: A co-ordinated collaborative research effort has the potential to have a larger impact than that of individuals alone. Nowhere is this truer than in the field of dementia research where the spectrum of research activity spans the extremes of the biomedical and social science practice and involves an ever increasing multidisciplinary, multi-skilled workforce.

“Effort across this whole spectrum is crucial to the overarching goal of realising benefits for people with dementia and their families and carers.”

Dr Peter Connelly said: “Every week there seems to be a headline about a new breakthrough in dementia research, with promises of rapid diagnosis and effective treatment shortly thereafter. But still we wait. And wait. Without really knowing what goes on in the field of dementia research.

“This, after all, involves many more aspects than diagnosis and treatment, such as showing us how to improve the lives of people with dementia and their families. So how does the new Consortium change this? It offers a place where research can be co-ordinated and developed, a place people can contact for knowledge, and a place to show the public how to become true partners in dementia research themselves.”

Note to Editors

For image of Professor Gunn-Moore please contact the press office.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Fiona MacLeod on 01334 462108 / 0771 414 0559.

Ref: (dementia 29/08/13)

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