Dementia/Neurodegeneration Research Database - Research Projects

Project Aim(s): PD-MitoQUANT is an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) (www.imi.europa.eu) project that brings together academic experts, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), pharmaceutical companies from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA)European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) (www.efpia.eu) and patient advocacy organisation Parkinson’s UKParkinson’s UK (www.parkinsons.org.uk).

The project aims to:

 

1) Improve our understanding of mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s  disease.

2) Identify and validate molecular drivers and mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease.

3) Discover innovative therapeutic targets that can be further progressed by the EFPIA partners in the future, and

4) Initiate a European research platform of excellence in PD that will continue beyond the project, providing long-term and sustainable progress in the understanding of mitochondrial dysfunction in PD, towards clinical application.

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Prof. Jochen Prehn
Dr. Dana Bar-on (Project Leader - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.)
Dr. Tina Stummann (Scientific Co-leader - H. Lundbeck A/S)
Dr. Olga Corti (Scientific Co-leader - Institut de Cerveau et de la Moelle Epiniere)
Dr. Orla Watters (ECR)
Dr. Niamh Connolly (ECR)
Disease Area:
Parkinson's Disease and related disorders
Field of Research:
Basic/Discovery Research
Institution:
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
Consiglio Nationale delle Ricerche (CNR)
GeneXplain GmbH
German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
H. Lundbeck A/S
Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epiniere (ICM)
Mimetas
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUMC)
Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI)
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
UCB S.A.
University College London (UCL)
Start year:
2020
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
IMI2
Recruiting Research Participants?:
No

 Project Aim(s): To investigate bone morphogenetic protein 2 as a therapeutic for Parkinson's disease (PD). 

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Dr. Gerard O' Keeffe
Disease Area:
Parkinson's Disease and related disorders
Field of Research:
Basic/Discovery Research
Institution:
University College Cork (UCC)
Start year:
2020
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
The European Commission.
Recruiting Research Participants?:
No

Project Aim(s): To support national and local Parkinson’s disease service planning by three linked work packages.

The first maps the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease and service availability for people with Parkinson’s, across each of the nine Community Healthcare Organisation regions in Ireland, to highlight mismatches between population needs and service provision.

The second develops quality indicators for Irish PD services and assesses existing services against these indicators, to demonstrate where extra resources are needed to provide a quality service.

The final work package explores the experience of people with Parkinson’s with respect to services they receive, and their priorities for service provision.

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Dr. Suzanne Timmons (PI)
Dr. Emma O' Shea (Postdoctoral Researcher)
Ms. Alphie Rukundo (Research Assistant)
Disease Area:
Parkinson's Disease and related disorders
Field of Research:
Connected Health
Institution:
University College Cork (UCC)
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
Health Research Board
Recruiting Research Participants?:
Yes

One promising approach for the treatment of PD is cellular brain repair whereby the cells that have died in the condition are replaced by transplantation of healthy cells into the brain. However, this approach has faced several limitations including poor survival of the transplanted cells in the PD brain. To address this limitation, we have recently shown that biomaterials - that is, materials that have been specifically engineered to interact with living systems for therapeutic purposes – have the potential to dramatically improve cellular brain repair for PD. Specifically, when the brain cells were encapsulated in a growth factor enriched biomaterial before transplantation into the (rat) PD brain, the survival of the cells was dramatically improved, and this enhanced brain repair and recovery of movement control. The aim of this project is to continue and extend these previous findings, and to determine if growth factor enriched biomaterials can also improve cellular brain repair for PD.

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Dr. Eilis Dowd
Sarah Jarrin
Disease Area:
Parkinson's Disease and related disorders
Field of Research:
Basic/Discovery Research
Institution:
NUI Galway
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
Michael J Fox Foundation
Recruiting Research Participants?:
No

1. Overview of Research Plans.

The successful treatment of memory impairments and neurodegenerative disorders critically depends on our understanding of the storage and recollection of memory episodes. Specifically, an understanding of the interaction between amnesic and neurodegenerative syndromes would aid the development of effective treatments. One of the key questions in neuroscience is: how do brain networks encode experience-dependent memory? Answering this question will give us universal tool to treat multiple brain disorders. The anatomical focus of my current research interests is the interaction between limbic, basal forebrain and nigro-striatal circuits as a possible candidate for interregional coordination of spatial navigation and context-dependent components of episodic memory.
I plan to examine if 1) neuromodulation from cholinergic neurons in forebrain and pontine tegmentum and 2) neuromodulation from dopaminergic and GABA-ergic neurons from ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra can regulate the properties of spatial experience-dependent spatial navigation to guide behavior. Understanding the fundamental principles of this inter-regional signal processing will allow me to address my next goal: to apply pharmacological, electrophysiological and genetic tools to treat memory and movement disorders. The cellular response to cholinergic and dopaminergic neurotransmitters in hippocampal region is largely explored, but little is known about the optimizing effect of extrinsic manipulation of the neuromodulatory projections on the encoding properties of hippocampal neurons and mnemonic function of the limbic system. Therefore, the present proposal addresses two broad questions: 1) Can we enhance the hippocampal spatial representation by activation of the cholinergic/dopaminergic systems? 2) Should medial temporal lobe amnesia and depression be regarded as independent syndromes, or are they interlinked?

2. Current Research.

My concurrent investigation targets the septal area, which is interconnected with 1) the hippocampus which mediates spatial memory 2) ventral dopaminergic tegmentum, which mediates reward-motivated behavior, and 3) medial cholinergic septal inputs, which regulate of the limbic excitability and network rhythmicity, that are crucially involved in the neuropathology of the Alzheimer’s disease. There is, however, limited information about how hippocampal spatial and tegmental reward systems maintain feedback loop to synchronize their activity for place and reward. I propose that septal neurons integrate spatial and context reward value, enabling episodic memory for past experience to support future adaptive behavior. Using electrophysiological recordings from rats performing spatial and reinforcement tasks I am currently identifying the signal processing of the space and reward for each septal sub-region (manuscript in preparation). My optognetic stimulation design also explores the role of pathophysiological alteration of septal cholinergic and tegmental dopaminergic inputs on septo-hippocampal neuronal responses and adaptive behaviour.

3. Next Research Aims.

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Marian Tsanov
Disease Area:
Dementia (including Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias)
Field of Research:
Basic/Discovery Research
Institution:
Trinity College Dublin
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
 
Recruiting Research Participants?:
No

Project Aim(s): This proposal aims to combine our novel EEG based technology with detailed neuropsychological assessment to provide a quantitative measure of cognitive change in MS that could be used in a clinical trial setting.  The study will also  provide an opportunity to assess for the first time the impact of Cladribine on cognitive performance using conventional screening tools, detailed neuropsychological batteries, and experimental neurophysiology based paradigms that could be harnessed for future nested case control studies.

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Prof. Orla Hardiman
Disease Area:
Motor Neurone Disease
Field of Research:
Clinical Research
Institution:
Trinity College Dublin
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
(i) Merck Serono Limited - €190,000(ii) FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre - €190,000
Recruiting Research Participants?:
Yes
Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Dr. Geraldine Foley
Disease Area:
Neurodegenerative Disease
Field of Research:
Clinical Research
Institution:
Trinity College Dublin
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
Trinity College Dublin
Recruiting Research Participants?:
No

To develop a self-report questionnaire that measures the fears and coping strategies that develop in response to memory loss

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Dr. Francesca Farina
Disease Area:
Dementia (including Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias)
Field of Research:
Social Research
Institution:
Trinity College Dublin
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
Irish Research Council
Recruiting Research Participants?:
Yes

PMSMatTrain focuses on gaining a comprehensive understanding of the progressive  phase of multiple sclerosis (PMS) from basics to translation, fully supported by eight beneficiaries (six research institutions and two SMEs).The consortium will develop a multi-modal “tuneable” hydrogel-based medical device designed to bring about biphasic release of anti-inflammatory molecules and neuroprotective drugs as well as generating a clinically-relevant in silico model of drug elution and dispersal within the central nervous system. Using “state-of-the-art” 3D organotypic cultures and disease-relevant oligodendrocytes produced from MS patient-derived stem cells, the project will allow investigation MS pathophysiology as well as analysing the role of therapeutic molecules in combatting inflammation and promoting regeneration and neuroprotection.  The industry partners will develop the end-device by providing standardised manufacturing protocols for scaled-up production and commercialisation of the final product.PMSMatTrain is a multidisciplinary European Training Network that will educate and train 15 Early Stage Researchers in functionalised biomaterials, materials science, stem cell biology, in vitro & pre-clinical models, molecular biology,  in silico modelling, functionalisation strategies  and prototype design.Programme fellows will experience both public and private sector research and development and will be best placed to secure employment as high calibre, innovative and well-trained graduates.

Five students will be based in the CÚRAM lab at NUIG, while the remaining 10 will be based in institutions in Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic. PIs involved are Prof Trevor Owens (Denmark), Dr Tanja Kuhlmann (Germany), Dr Bertrand Huard (France), Dr Damiana Pierogostina (Italy), Dr. Marlene Verhoye (Belgium), Dr Peter Ponsaerts (Belgium), Dr Martin Pravda (Czech Republic), Dr Anna Rodriguez (Spain).

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Dr. Una FitzGerald
Prof. Abhay Pandit
Dr. Nathan Quinlan
Disease Area:
Neurodegenerative Disease
Field of Research:
Basic/Discovery Research
Institution:
NUI Galway
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
European Union, Innovative Training Network Scheme.  Dr FitzGerald is the lead PI and Coordinator of this doctoral training network. A total of 15 early-stage researchers (PhDs) will be trained in MS- and biomaterial-related research, including brain development, neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, de- and remyelination.
Recruiting Research Participants?:
No

1. What is the Person with Parkinson's community knowledge and experience of existing voice assisted technology?

2. What is the knowledge, experience and attitudes of Speech and Language Therapists towards voice assisted technology in practice?

Principal Investigator/ Researchers:
Dr Orla Duffy
Professor George Kernohan
Dr Roisin McNaney
Dr Jonathan Synnott
Disease Area:
Parkinson's Disease and related disorders
Field of Research:
Clinical Research
Institution:
Bristol University
University of Ulster
Start year:
2019
Project Completed:
No
Funding body:
N/A
Recruiting Research Participants?:
No