Research Office Weekly Blog: Introducing the new Director of Dementia Research

By Professor Nigel Hooper, Director of Dementia Research at The University of Manchester

nigel hooper

First of all a big thank you to Lloyd Gregory for allowing me to sabotage his blog and introduce myself! For those of you who do not know me, a brief introduction:  prior to arriving in Manchester just over a year ago, my whole scientific career (from BSc in Biochemistry onwards) was at the University of Leeds. Early in my research career I became interested in dementia due to similarities in the work I was then doing on protease action and key processes underpinning Alzheimer’s disease. A conversation with a colleague here in Manchester led to me seeing the light and realising the opportunities that the University had to offer not only for my own research but also in the wider field of dementia.

Before I arrived in Manchester back in May 2014 I was already working closely with my new Manchester colleagues on a major funding bid to the MRC – as part of the Dementias Platform UK – resulting in Manchester being awarded over £6M in capital, including an MR-PET scanner to be installed next April in the Nuclear Medicine Department in St Mary’s Hospital, CMFT. Since my arrival I have been working closely with Professors Daniela Montaldi and Alistair Burns to develop a strong and focused dementia strategy for the University – truly a team effort. This strategy has undergone a significant review process and I am delighted to confirm that we are now recognised by the University as an official research network – dementia@manchester.

The main aims of dementia@manchester are to: 1) coordinate, focus and optimise our dementia research; 2) build a sustainable base for future capacity in dementia studies;  3) increase grant income and deliver added value to translational outputs; 4) build the reputation of the University as a leader in dementia research; 5) enable the University to become dementia friendly and to enhance its social responsibility agenda;  6) build on and develop our Patient and Public Involvement networks; and 7) deliver stratified medicine and improved health and social care benefits for those living with dementia in Manchester and the North West of England.

My appointment to the role of Director of Dementia Research means that I have the privilege of leading on the implementation of this ambitious strategy. To do this, we will be strengthening existing links and creating new ones across the University, within MAHSC NHS partners and other local NHS organisations (such as Clinical Commissioning Groups), local councils (e.g. working with Directors of Public Health), and other academic institutions (e.g. Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford) to exploit opportunities for research and influencing policy and practice.

Our ultimate aim is to work together to ensure Greater Manchester becomes a leading player both nationally and internationally in the fight against dementia in order to bring forward real benefit for those living with dementia and their carers, families and friends. The work ahead is undoubtedly going to be challenging and we have some very ambitious targets to meet, and I look forward to working with you all as we continue on this incredibly exciting (and hopefully rewarding) journey. I would be delighted to speak with anyone who would like to become involved in this endeavour so please do contact me directly (email: nigel.hooper@manchester.ac.uk; tel: 0161 306 5765)


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