Basic Science Research

Members of the network engaged in the basic sciences conduct cutting edge research in the area of biochemistry, neuroscience and pharmaceutical science. This research aims to better understand the mechanism behind neurodegeneration. Research activity focuses on synaptic functions/signalling and functioning of biomolecules which underlie neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disesase and related neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease. This research opens up the possibilities to design therapeutic drugs and life style programmes's which can bring about improved brain health.

Areas of focus include:

  • Highlighting the role of defective insulin and IGF-1 signalling and the interlinked PI3-kinase/Akt/mTOR axis as an early cause of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s and also Parkinson’s disease
  • Identifying new diagnostic biomarker platforms for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Exploring the neurobiology and neuropsychology of learning and memory
  • Examing what mechanisms underlie the different forms of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus

Research Initiatives in Basic Science

Sampling and biomarker OPtimization and Harmonization In ALS and other motor neuron disease (SOPHIA)

SOPHIA is a consortium of 17 ALS centres in Europe. The consortium aim to develop a common strategy for the prioritization and harmonization of biomarkers for ALS and neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, it aims to validate neurochemical biomarkers for monitoring disease activity, for generating earlier diagnoses and for defining prognosis.

More information: Visit project website

Dublin Brain Bank

The Dublin Brain Bank is a collaboration between the Neuropathology Department of Beaumont Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. It aims to facilitate an archive of brain tissue, which will help clinical and neuroscience researchers uncover potential cures for neurological diseases.

More information: Visit project website

Irish Network for Biomarkers in Neurodegeneration (IN-BIND)

As part of the BIOMARKPD initiative the Irish Network for Biomarkers in Neurodegeneration (IN-BIND) was established. It is a research infrastructure aimed at creating a functional network for clinical and laboratory based scientists working in this area. Similar to BIOMARKPD, the aims of IN-BIND are the standardisation of biomarker measurement across Ireland and Europe to include i) sample collection, ii) measurement, iii) and interpretation. In addition, a national and central European biobank are being created with samples from characterised AD, PD, MCI patients and neurologically healthy controls.

More information: Visit project website


BIOMARKAPD is a multi-national research project comprising 51 sites in 21 countries, including Ireland. This JPND (joint programme on neurodegenerative diseases) funded collaborative research project aims to develop optimally informative biomarkers for AD and PD and the harmonisation of their use. The Irish strand of BIOMARKPD aims to; standardise biomarker measurement and interpretation nationally; develop and make available a CSF test for ND biomarkers in AD and PD; Establish and sustain a registry of ND; and bring clarity to biomarker interpretation to support diagnosis.

More information: Visit project website