Professor Karen Horsburgh
University of Edinburgh
Metabolic and vascular contributors to dementia'
There is compelling evidence to suggest that Alzheimers disease (AD) is fundamentally a metabolic disease
resulting from progressive deficits in cerebral energy metabolism, triggered by vascular pathologies. It is vital that
the underlying mechanisms are determined to identify targets amenable to intervention. To address this requires
development and training of the next generation of dementia researchers with the skills to tackle this growing
problem. Our universities have pledged their support and committed additional funding to enable the training of 8
PhD students. We propose to encompass the students within a co-ordinated and planned training programme
supported by an existing network of research groups with specific expertise in metabolic and vascular disease
from molecule to Man. State-of-the-art and new technologies will be employed that span from cellular and brain
energetics, metabolomics (including proteomics and lipidomics), novel biophotonic technology for manipulation
and imaging the brain from the cellular level of the neurovascular unit (confocal and light sheet imaging) to whole
brain (MR/DTI), measurements of rodent cognition and from cellular to transgenic animals through to human
studies. The overall outcome will be to provide new insights as to how vascular and metabolic factors lead to
dysfunction of neuronal networks and progressive cognitive decline.