UK Dementia Research Institute

The UK Dementia Research Institute at The University of Edinburgh is one of seven centres across the UK, seeking to find new ways to diagnose and treat the condition.

UK Dementia Research Institute logo

Launched in 2017, the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) is a joint £290 million investment funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The UK DRI brings together world-leading expertise in biomedical, care and translational dementia research in a national institute. The hub is based at University College London (UCL) with centres hosted at:

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Cardiff University
  • Imperial College London
  • King’s College London
  • The University of Cambridge
  • Care Research and Technology, Imperial College London.

The UK DRI at the University of Edinburgh is primarily based in the Chancellor’s Building, which is part of the BioQuarter, Edinburgh's new multidisciplinary research institute and teaching hospital.

The research team, led by Professor Giles Hardingham, are aiming to piece together how all the different brain cells, systems and processes work together to keep our brains healthy over many decades. Unravelling how these finely-tuned interactions are disturbed even before a person has any specific signs or symptoms of dementia will open new avenues for the development of therapies.

Our brain is an incredibly complex organ, made up of 100 billion neurons. It is aided by an intricate network of blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen, working together in perfect harmony. Understanding the function of each component and the complex relationships between them helps give us a better picture of what happens when things go wrong in conditions such as dementia.

By understanding the inner workings of our brains, our researchers hope to identify disturbances that can lead to neurodegenerative diseases. A main aim of the Edinburgh research programme is to find new targets for the development of treatments - meaning that more people can live longer, healthier lives.