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Shining many lights on the dysregulation of brain iron in neurodegenerative disease

joanna_collingwood2.jpgEarly and accurate diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders continues to be a significant challenge in modern healthcare. We will consider evidence for altered patterns of brain iron in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Multiple System Atrophy.

We will discuss how advanced high-resolution imaging methods, including synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy and magnetic resonance microscopy are enabling a better understanding of the role of metal ions in these diseases. We will conclude by showing how we are using these high resolution imaging methods for the development of clinical imaging techniques to facilitate earlier and more accurate diagnosis in the future.

Joanna Collingwood

Dr Collingwood’s primary area of research lies at the intersection between neuroscience, materials science, and engineering. Through studying the distribution and form of metals such as iron in the human brain, and identifying disease-specific changes in the usage of these elements by the brain, we are exploring new techniques for early detection and diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

We use a variety of analytical techniques, including high-resolution synchrotron X-ray mapping and spectroscopy methods, and high-field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), to characterise metal elements in brain tissues, as we work towards translating our findings into clinical practice.