Dementia Research


Principal Investigator: Dr Zsuzsanna Nagy


Dementia is a progressive loss of memory, intellect and personality that affects almost 1 million people in the UK. In 2016 the disease became the leading cause of death in the UK. As there are no early diagnostic or prognostic methods and no disease modifying therapy the personal, social and economic burden of dementia is set to increase rapidly in the ageing population.

Our research

The main aim of this group is to decipher the cellular and molecular mechanisms in the brain that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Our working hypothesis is that the development of the specific and non-specific degenerative changes in the brain associated with dementia, are the result of a maladaptive response of the brain to its environment. This maladaptive response is partly due to ageing and partly due to genetic factors that affect molecular pathways downstream of mTOR.

Our current research is aimed at understanding the link between genetic variations on mTOR-regulated pathways and the risk of developing dementia, in particular dementia of the Alzheimer type and dementia following traumatic brain injury.

Our work also contributed to the understanding of the neurodegenerative process associated with Wolfram Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. The in vitro models used to study this disorder also led to the discovery of potential new neuroprotective strategies in this condition.

The target validation approaches and in vitro models used by the group have also been successfully applied to cancer research.  

Research Team

Internal Collaborators

Professor Timothy Barrett - Leonard Parsons Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences

Dr Sarah Aldred - Senior Lecturer in Exercise Biochemistry, School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Professor Tony Belli - Professor of Trauma Neurosurgery, Institute of Inflammation and Ageing
Professor Carl Clarke - Professor of Clinical Neurology, Institute of Clinical Sciences
Professor Roy Bicknell - Professor of Functional Genomics, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

External Collaborators

Professor Margaret Esiri - University of Oxford, UK
Professor David Smith - University of Oxford, UK
Professor Gordon Wilcock - University of Oxford, UK
Professor Karen Morrison – University of Southampton, UK
Professor John Hardy – University College London, UK
Professor Harald Hampel - Sorbonne Universities, France
Associate Professor Simon Laws - Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia
CytOx Ltd

Public Engagement and Public Patient Involvement

As the promised treatments for Alzheimer’s disease have failed one after another and the disease is threatening to reach epidemic proportions, reaching out to the public has become ever more urgent. We have made it our mission to increase the awareness of this terrible disease and draw attention to the immediate need for funding and research in the field.

We aim to raise public awareness of the modifiable (environmental and lifestyle) risk factors for Dementia in an effort to help people prevent or at least delay the onset of the disease.

Birmingham University TedX


Dementia patients in the UK - and counting! Zsuszanna Nagy. TEDx University of Birmingham

Dr. Zsuzsanna Nagy is also the President elect (2015-2017) of the Lichfield Society of Science and Engineering