Research design

Cambridge researchers take center stage at major dementia conference

Dr. András Lakatos received the David Hague Early Career Investigator of the Year Award for being the most outstanding early career investigator in the field of biomedical dementia research. The prize is worth £25,000 in research costs, with an additional personal prize of £1,500.
Dr András Lakatos is a neurobiologist and consultant neurologist in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, where he runs a research laboratory. After pausing his research activities to complete his training as a full-time clinical specialist in general medicine and neurology, Dr. Lakatos obtained a junior university scholarship and later, in 2017, he was awarded the Research Fellowship of the Medical Research Council Clinician Scientist.

Dr. Lakatos’ research has contributed to the understanding of the role of supporting cells in the brain’s vast network of nerve cells in health and disease. To do this, in the laboratory, he and his research group have developed cutting-edge techniques to study “mini-brains in a dish”.

He is currently leading research that aims to fill the knowledge gap between genetic risk and pathways contributing to nerve cell loss in diseases such as frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Dr András Lakatos, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences, said:
“I feel very privileged to receive this prestigious award, especially in light of the list of distinguished colleagues who have received it before me. I take it as an acknowledgment of my lab’s efforts over the years, and I’m confident it will fuel our research into neurodegenerative diseases.
“We currently don’t have very effective options for treating conditions like frontotemporal dementia or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This award is particularly gratifying because this research may be able to identify other potential drug targets and give people hope.

Jean Corsan Prize – Dr. Negin Holland

Dr. Negin Holland wins the Jean Corsan prize, rewarding the best article published by a doctoral student in the field.

In the study, Dr. Holland, who is also a clinician, looked at people with an accumulation of tau, a protein responsible for several different diseases that cause nerve cell loss.

The Cambridge research team recruited participants with progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal degeneration from the Cambridge Center for Parkinson-Plus and Join Dementia Research, a service that provides the opportunity to participate in dementia research studies.

Using brain scans, Dr Holland found that areas of the brain with more connections between nerve cells also had more tau buildup, suggesting the connections may help spread disease . In patients with more severe disease, this relationship is lost. Given the importance of nerve cell connections for memory and thinking, this work could inform the design of future clinical trials.

Dr Negin Holland, speaking about her discoveries as the winner of the 2022 Jean Corsan Prize, said:
“I was very moved and touched by the news of the awarding of the Jean Corsan Prize. As a clinician, I see patients with dementia on a daily basis. I am fortunate to be based in a center of excellence for dementia research and to have the opportunity to advance our understanding of this devastating disease one small step. I owe the success of the project to the expertise and collaboration of many people and, above all, to our patient volunteers.