Fellowship to study Alzheimer’s disease for Amy Lloyd

Published on 29 August 2023

Amy Lloyd has been awarded a £500,000 Race Against Dementia and Alzheimer’s Research UK 5-year research Fellowship to study one of the pre-clinical phases of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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The research project will focus on microglia, immune cells of the brain that are important in protecting the brain from damage or infection. In early, pre-clinical phases of Alzheimer’s Disease, it is thought that microglia try and protect the brain by clearing away toxic protein build-up associated with the disease. However, over time, microglia stop protecting the brain. They then contribute to the damage by no longer clearing toxic proteins away and releasing inflammatory molecules that damage neurons. 

Amy, who is an Independent Investigator in the Division of Cell Signalling and Immunology in the School of Life Sciences said, “This research aims to understand why microglia change their functions in Alzheimer’s Disease, and hopefully understand the mechanisms involved in microglia turning from early neuroprotective cells to chronically inflamed and damaging cells.”

The research will use the mass spectrometry and proteomics expertise at the University of Dundee to understand how microglia contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease by tracking them from the early pre-symptomatic to chronic phases of disease.

Alongside this, Amy will collaborate with scientists at the Francis Crick institute who have novel mouse models that have human microglia throughout their brain. It is hoped these models will allow Amy to understand how human microglia responds to these protein aggregates changes as disease progresses. This will give major insights into how and why microglia change from beneficial to detrimental in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Amy studied neuroscience at the University of Nottingham and did her PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Her research paper on pro-inflammatory microglial necroptosis earned her the prestigious Jean Corsan Prize from Alzheimer’s Research UK. 

Amy will also be part of the RAD Fellowship Programme, an international development scheme for the most promising dementia researchers, exposing them to high-performance cultures found in Formula 1 and innovative technology companies. The aim is to maximize the academic and personal potential of each RAD Fellow, allowing them to fast-track dementia research, becoming leaders in their field.

Amy said “My Race Against Fellowship could enable drug treatments aimed at preventing microglia from becoming damaging. This would become a way to protect the brain from neurodegenerative disease progression.”

“I would like to thank Dr Fiona McLean for her encouragement and support during my application, as well as Dr Andy Howden and Professor Miratul Muqit for their advice and support throughout.” 

Notes to editors

About the School of Life Sciences 

  • The UK's Number 1 University for biological sciences (2014 and 2021 Research Excellence Framework), with scientists translating basic and clinical research to address global health challenges. 
  • One of the leading universities in the UK for spinning out and commercialising research, creating companies such as Exscientia and Amphista Therapeutics.
  • Our research-led teaching is preparing the next-generation of employable graduates with degrees that have a real-world focus.

About Alzheimer's Research UK: 

  • Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
  • Our vision is a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.
  • We fund life-changing research, influence government and policy-makers, and provide information for people affected by dementia. 
  • Our mission is to accelerate progress towards a cure for dementia, by revolutionising the way we treat, diagnose and prevent the condition.
  • Since the charity was founded in 1992 we have invested more than £188m in dementia research, helping fuel drug discovery, improve diagnostics and further our understanding of the genetics of the disease.
  • Last year we invested more than £28m in our charitable activities, including £23m in research.
  • You can support Alzheimer’s Research UK by donating, fundraising, volunteering and campaigning. To find out more about the charity and how you can help visit or call 0300 111 5555.
  • Follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedIn and TikTok

About Race Against Dementia

  • Race Against Dementia was established by Sir Jackie Stewart, OBE after his wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Over 55 million people live with dementia. Many more are affected by it as it devastates families. One in three people born today will die with dementia. Every three seconds someone is diagnosed with dementia. A crisis that cannot continue. 
  • RAD supports researchers in different aspects of dementia research, with RAD Fellows and RAD Associates in the UK, Australia, the USA, Europe, and South Africa. With more funding, that research will expand and accelerate. Alongside Formula 1, RAD has corporate relationships with Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Dyson and Randox. RAD is registered with the Fundraising Regulator.


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489
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