Bart De Strooper

Professor Bart de Strooper, UK DRI at UCL, UK  

The cellular phase of Alzheimer’s disease: from genes to glia cells and defects in neurons

11:20 - 12:20, Wednesday 14th April - The UK DRI plenary lecture


Bart De StrooperProfessor Bart De Strooper is the founding director of the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI). He is a researcher in Alzheimer's disease, and supervises  laboratories based in the UK DRI at the Francis Crick Institute in London and in the VIB laboratory at the KU Leuven in Belgium. Bart De Strooper’s research is focussed on translating genetic findings into mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases and drug targets. He is best known for his work on the presenilins and gamma-secretase, and more recently for his work on the cellular theory of Alzheimer’s Disease.  He was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship in 2020, and has received several awards including the Potamkin prize, the Metlife Foundation Award for Medical Research, Alois Alzheimer’s prize, the highly prestigious Brain Prize 2018 and Commander in the Order of Leopold I.


The amyloid cascade hypothesis for Alzheimer disease (AD) provides a simple linear model for the pathogenesis of AD with accumulation of the amyloid peptide Aβ causing Tau-tangle pathology and resulting in neuronal dysfunction and cell death. The genetic mutations causing familial AD support partially such a model. The hypothesis does however not explain the cause of Aβ toxicity, the relation between Aβ and Tau pathology, the cause of neuronal death, and why amyloid deposition is not correlated with dementia. The hypothesis also does not take into account the long time lag between the biochemical phase i.e. the appearance of amyloid plaques and neuronal tangles and the ultimate clinical phase, i.e. the manifestation of dementia. We propose an intermediary, cellular phase of AD to suggest a complex disease process triggered by Aβ that involves cycles of action and reaction involving all cells of the brain - neurons, but also microglia, astroglia, oligodendrocytes, and the cells from the vasculature. We expect that better understanding of this preclinical phase will lead to completely new ways of diagnosing and treating AD, with more focus on prevention of dementia itself.

UK DRI plenary lecture 

UKDRI logo

Launched in 2017, the UK DRI is the single biggest investment the UK has ever made in dementia thanks to £290 million from founding funders the Medical Research Council (MRC), Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The UK DRI is revolutionary in scale and scope, bringing together world-leading expertise in biomedical, care and translational dementia research in a national institute currently made up of over 650 researchers, support staff and students, enabling the UK DRI to lead the way in tackling what is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales. 

The UK DRI is delighted join forces with the BNA as Festival Partner for BNA2021 – presenting the perfect opportunity to bring together the wider dementia research and neuroscience communities. It is pleasure to present a plenary lecture from our Director, Professor Bart De Strooper, and host four scientific symposia in the scientific stream of ‘Ageing and dementia’.

Visit the UK DRI website here

Additional websites

See Bart de Strooper on the UK DRI website here