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Symposium Preview: Meet the ALS/FTD Plenary Speakers…Part 2

Symposium Preview: Meet the ALS/FTD Plenary Speakers…Part 2

Reading Time: 5 minutes Every year, the team works hard to build on the previous year’s success. This year we are excited to include a series of three ALS-FTD joint sessions, in collaboration with the International Society for Frontotemporal Dementias, in the programme. To give you a teaser of what is to come, we are taking a closer look at the plenary speakers in the ALS-FTD sessions at the Symposium. In this blog, we explore the topics they will be presenting and find out a little more about the speakers.

Symposium Preview: Meet the ALS/FTD Plenary Speakers…Part 1

Symposium Preview: Meet the ALS/FTD Plenary Speakers…Part 1

Reading Time: 5 minutes Every year, the team works hard to build on the previous year’s success. This year we are excited to include a series of three ALS-FTD joint sessions, in collaboration with the International Society for Frontotemporal Dementias, in the programme.

Some people with ALS, the most common form of MND, also develop a form of dementia known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD). FTD is a group of disorders where the nerve cells in two sets of lobes (frontal and temporal) in the brain are damaged. In a similar way to how motor neurones break down in MND and cause loss of function in muscles, the damage to the nerve cells in FTD causes the connections between parts of the brain to break down. As more cells become damaged and die this can lead to symptoms such as problems with memory, thinking or language, changes in mood, emotions and behaviour.

Symposium Preview: Meet the Symposium Communications Ambassadors

Symposium Preview: Meet the Symposium Communications Ambassadors

Reading Time: 7 minutes Each year at the Symposium, there is a huge amount of research presented on a range of topics from across the globe. With the Symposium returning to an in-person event this year, we are keen to increase the number of updates we share for those not able to attend, including people living with and affected by MND.

To help us do this, we have launched a new Symposium Communications Ambassador Programme so we can bring more of the research from the Symposium to non-scientific audiences. This programme was open for applications from early career researchers working in MND, who were interested in helping us shine a light on MND research happening across the world. This year we have 5 early career researchers taking part in the Programme, who will gain experience and new skills in communicating research to different audiences. Before, during and after the Symposium our Ambassador’s will be helping us to share the latest research with the MND community.

Symposium Preview: Meet the ALS/MND Plenary Speakers…Part 2

Symposium Preview: Meet the ALS/MND Plenary Speakers…Part 2

Reading Time: 7 minutes Each year we invite plenary speakers who are experts in their fields to provide an overview on topics across MND research and clinical practice. This year we have 14 plenary speakers talking about ALS/MND who will discuss a wide range of topics from genetics to tissue biomarkers to improving clinical practice. In this second blog we will be taking a closer look at some of our plenary speakers this year and sharing more about the topics they will be discussing.

Investigating differences in protein production in MND

Investigating differences in protein production in MND

Reading Time: 4 minutes My name is Dr Hannah Smith, and I’m a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh. My project is supervised by Professor Tom Gillingwater, and my work is funded by MND Scotland. My current research focuses on comparing healthy motor neurons and those with MND/ALS, specifically focusing on early changes to the cellular machinery and how the motor neurons produce the proteins they need to function. I’ll discuss the specifics of that, and why we are interested in finding out this information, in the next section.

Growing brain cells in 3D to study MND

Growing brain cells in 3D to study MND

Reading Time: 5 minutes My current work focuses on looking at the cell types that are affected in MND and how they impact each other. Motor neurons, the main cell type affected in MND, connect our brains and muscles. This connection is what allows us to move. In MND, these cells start to die, which is what leads to progressive paralysis. But motor neurons aren’t the only cell types affected by MND. They are surrounded by many more cells called glia, which have roles in keeping our motor neurons healthy.

Improving the protection of motor neurons in MND

Improving the protection of motor neurons in MND

Reading Time: 5 minutes I’m Hannah, an MND Association-funded first year PhD student at the University of Nottingham. During my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, also at Nottingham, I had the opportunity to do a project researching MND in the lab, where my interest in MND began. During this project I also met someone who was living with MND, who had come to hear about the research happening in our lab. Hearing his insights into the devastating effects of MND really stuck with me, and I decided I wanted to begin a career in MND research. This led me to my PhD project, in which I am aiming to make a natural type of cell called astrocytes more protective of motor neurones. We hope that this work will inform us of a possible new way to treat MND.

A stepping stone to becoming future leaders in MND research

A stepping stone to becoming future leaders in MND research

Reading Time: 6 minutes MND is a very complex disease and collaboration within the research community is key to building on our current understanding of the disease biology and finding effective treatments. The MND Association recognises the importance of expanding the dedicated MND research workforce, as well as supporting those who are already working in the field. To fund…