Multiscale imaging of alpha-synuclein and neurodegeneration
In the research project of Dr. Ruinqing Ni at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM) at the University of Zurich is working on developing new methods for imaging alpha-synuclein deposits in the brains of Parkinson's patients. Alpha-synuclein are protein deposits typical of Parkinson's disease, which cause nerve cells to die off. Synocleinopathies affect more than 10 million people worldwide. Synucleinopathy is the name given to a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative diseases whose common feature is an intracellular deposition of insoluble misfolded protein in certain neuronal and glial cell populations.
Dementia Research Switzerland – Synapsis Foundation in brief
Dementia Research Switzerland – Synapsis Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt foundation under Swiss law. It is under the supervision of the Federal Department of Home Affairs. The founding of the foundation is based on the realization that research into Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases is becoming increasingly important in view of demographic developments. More and more people in Switzerland are affected by Alzheimer's disease. By the year 2050, 315,400 patients are expected if no effective therapy is found by then. The exact mechanisms behind the development of Alzheimer's are still largely unknown. However, previous research results indicate that the disease begins up to 20 years before the first symptoms. In addition, science today assumes that several factors could be involved in the development of Alzheimer's dementia. It is therefore important to invest in Alzheimer's research on a broad scale. Our foundation supports research into Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases in Switzerland. We focus on research into Alzheimer's disease as the most common form of dementia. Through this pooling of resources, we intend to make a lasting impact so that Alzheimer's can soon be cured. The Synapsis Foundation stands for the high scientific quality of the funded projects, for a transparent selection process and independent research funding:
- An annual, public project call ensures competition within the research community. This guarantees a high scientific quality of the submitted project proposals.
- An independent scientific advisory board selects the most innovative and qualitatively best research projects with the involvement of international experts. Around 30 projects are supported every year.
- Through the targeted promotion of talented young researchers, sustainable investments are made in the establishment of new research groups.
- An annual report on the scientific progress and financial status of the funded projects serves to ensure quality.
- Scientific events ensure the exchange of knowledge between researchers in order to make optimal use of existing infrastructure and synergies.
In the present project, the researchers aim to develop an innovative imaging platform with which alpha-synuclein deposits in the brain of Parkinson's patients can be visualized. Connections between these specific protein deposits and neurodegeneration will then be examined. One of the aims is to explore new ways of researching the underlying disease mechanisms.
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