School of Life Sciences


Free dementia event sees latest research shared straight from the lab

Researchers from the University of Sussex organised and took part in a free event about dementia last week, to share the important work being done in their labs with around 100 members of the public.

Organised by Professor of Biochemistry Louise Serpell, Research Fellow Dr Chrysia Pegasiou and Public Engagement Coordinator Dr Katy Petherick from the School of Life Sciences, the event on Thursday 31 January was hosted at the Amex stadium and comprised hands-on demonstrations and talks from researchers, with an opportunity for attendees to put their questions to the experts.

Dr Oyinkan Adesakin, Lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Sussex, was one of the speakers on the day, presenting her work which uses fruit flies to gain insights into the disease processes involved in Alzheimer’s.

Dr Adesakin said: “It was great being part of the ARUK public engagement event and speaking about my research.

“It can be challenging to give a science talk like this but, as scientists, it is important that we do, to debunk a lot of misconceptions and showcase the strength and breadth of our research.”

Other speakers and attendees this year included researchers from the University of Portsmouth, the University of Southampton and the University of Brighton, as well as Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The event is an annual occurrence, organised and hosted each year by different members of the Alzheimer’s Research UK South Coast Network.

Professor Serpell, from the University of Sussex, said: “Discussing and explaining our research into dementia is a really important part of our work and we were really happy that so many members of the public signed up to attend.

“This event really highlighted the importance of funding dementia research.”

Dementia affects over 850,000 people in the UK, including over 3,000 people in Brighton and Hove. The condition, most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease, affects people’s ability to remember, think, plan and communicate. The diseases that cause dementia get worse over time, and impact more and more aspects of a person’s life.

Sadly, while there are treatments that can help with the symptoms, there is currently no way to slow or stop the diseases that cause dementia.

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity, dedicated to making life-changing breakthroughs in diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure. They fund more than £31m of pioneering dementia research across the UK, including £1.8m across the south coast, supporting scientists in the region, including at the University of Sussex, to uncover more about the causes of dementia.

Dr Mariana Vargas-Caballero, Chair of the Alzheimer’s Research UK South Coast Network, said: “Globally, the numbers of people living with dementia are set to increase from 50 million in 2018 to 152 million by 2050.

“These figures emphasise just how important current research progress is, to improve diagnosis and deliver life-changing treatments that are so urgently needed.”


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By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2019