Emily Handley

Changes in synaptic alterations and its impact on frontotemporal dementia

Emily Handley headshot
Alzheimer's Australia Dementia Research Foundation Half Funded PhD Scholarship
Project Snapshot

Frontotemporal dementia is a form of dementia affecting primarily the frontal and temporal part of the brain. It is the second most common form of dementia in people under the age of 65. TDP-43, a DNA processing protein, is one of the main proteins that have been identified to play a role in frontotemporal dementia. Synapses are specialised structures that allow neurons to communicate with each other. Changes in synapses can have serious effects on neurons and if not controlled can cause neuron death. TDP-43 has been shown to affect the number and maturation of synapses. It is feasible that an early disease-causing event in frontotemporal dementia may be changes to synapses. Ms Handley will determine how TDP-43 changes lead to specific pre and post synaptic alterations in vitro using primary neurons.