Spotlight: Dr Jill Madine - researching dementia


Posted on: 11 September 2020 by Louise Colley in September posts


This edition of Spotlight focusses on Dr Jill Madine from the Department of Biochemistry and Systems Biology. Jill has a long-standing interest in the role of amyloid proteins in neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases. Her recent research has focussed on the potential role of the previously identified cardiovascular amyloid protein medin in dementia.

Alzheimer's disease

Around 850,000 people in the UK are currently affected by dementia.  The most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease.  Symptoms include memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem solving or language.

Jill joined the University of Liverpool in 2006, as an Alzheimer's Research UK Fellow probing therapeutic targetting of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases. She was subsequently awarded a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship to investigate amyloid protein deposition in the cardiovascular system. She has also received pilot funding from Alzheimer's Research UK to develop new imaging probes for amyloid beta aggregate tracking to enhance understanding of disease processes.

 

Working as part of an international multi-disciplinary team, Jill's recent research has focussed on the role of medin.  Medin is the most common amyloid found in humans, affecting the majority of people over the age of 50. Medin has previously been identified in the aorta and is associated with aortic aneurysms and aortic dissection. This new research has found that medin may also be associated with cerebrovascular disease, e.g. Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

Next steps

Jill is a member of the multi-disciplinary Liverpool Aortic Biomechanics and Biochemistry Research group working on understanding underlying mechanisms in aortic conditions, in collaboration with Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

Jill commented: "This new research was made possible through long-standing local and international collaborations.  It opens up new avenues for future risk factor, biomarker and therapeutic development. As my background is in neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease separately, this new avenue combines both areas of my research perfectly. It provides exciting opportunities for future research and improved disease understanding for future research and improved disease understanding. Ultimately this could lead to earlier detection and alternative therapeutics with the aim of enhancing the quality of life for people with dementia."  

Medin aggregation causes cerebrovascular dysfunction in aging wildtype mice

Cerebrovascular medin is associated with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia