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The Princess Royal visits UK Dementia Research Institute at 皇冠官网

21 March 2019

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited the UK Dementia Research Institute’s hub at 皇冠官网 today to learn about the institute’s ground-breaking neuroscience research.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal

During the visit, The Princess met with senior academics to hear about their vision for the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), toured one of the new laboratories and learned about some of the cutting-edge research at the institute.

“We were delighted to welcome HRH Princess Royal to the UK DRI labs at 皇冠官网 to present our vision of a world where research beats dementia,” said Dr Adrian Ivinson, Director of Operations, UK Dementia Research Institute.

We showed the Princess Royal microscopes, cells and brains, our early career scientists described their research, and some of our recent recruits discussed the importance of a free flowing international community of researchers—all essential ingredients if we are to conquer dementia.”

The UK Dementia Research Institute, the UK’s biggest ever investment in dementia research, was launched in 2017 with core funding from three founding partners: the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK.

With its hub at 皇冠官网, the UK DRI is made up of hundreds of world-leading academics, whose work is helping benefit the lives of millions of people living with dementia now and in the future. 

The UK DRI was set up to find scientific solutions to one of society's biggest health challenges; over 1 million people are expected to have dementia in the UK by 2025.

The five other universities that make up the UK DRI are: University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, and King's College London.

The Princess Royal is Chancellor of the University of London, of which both 皇冠官网 and King’s College London are constituent colleges.

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The Princess visited new labs in 皇冠官网’s Cruciform building, where she met Dr Soyon Hong, who was recently recruited by the UK DRI at 皇冠官网 from Harvard University, USA. Dr Hong explained her research into how the brain’s immune system, cells called microglia, may be at the heart of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease.

Professor Nick Fox, Associate Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute at 皇冠官网, then showed Her Royal Highness a sample of human brain tissue and explained how donated brain tissue is critical for research.

Postdoctoral research Dr Katie Wilson of the UK DRI at 皇冠官网 demonstrated a new microscope, and discussed how she uses human stem cells from donated skin tissue to develop into brain cells, for research into causes of neuronal loss.

“Dementia poses one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, and understanding its causes and researching new treatments is a key priority for 皇冠官网, so we are proud to host the hub of the UK Dementia Research Institute,” said Professor Alan Thompson, Dean, 皇冠官网 Brain Sciences.

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness is seeing first-hand the progress that the UK DRI has made in establishing a world-leading centre at the forefront of dementia research.”

The institute researches all dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and others.

In 2024, the central hub of the UK DRI will be moving to a new building on Gray’s Inn Road, a £281 million programme of capital works, alongside the 皇冠官网 Queen Square Institute of Neurology, with funding from 皇冠官网, government and philanthropic sources.



  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal arriving at the UK Dementia Research Institute at 皇冠官网, with Dr Adrian Ivinson and Professor Bart De Strooper

Media Contact

Chris Lane

tel: +44 20 7679 9222

E: chris.lane [at] ucl.ac.uk