Joanna Wardlaw

Joanna Wardlaw

Vascular causes of neurodegeneration: risk factors, mechanisms, and potential treatments
Joanna Wardlaw, UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh, UK
The Wolstencroft Lecture

08:30 - 09:30 BST, Tuesday 25th April 2023

Joanna Wardlaw is internationally recognised for work on the pathophysiology of cerebral small vessel disease and brain ageing, and the pathophysiology and treatment of acute ischaemic stroke especially thrombolytic therapy. In 2021 she was received the BNA's most prestigious prize, the BNA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Neuroscience

Vascular causes of neurodegeneration: risk factors, mechanisms, and potential treatments
Brain blood vessels are essential for supplying the brain with oxygen and nutrients and helping to remove waste. Damage to and dysfunction of the blood vessels is widely known to cause focal brain damage such as stroke, but is still perhaps less well recognised as a cause of more global diffuse brain damage resulting in cognitive impairment, dementia, mood and mobility problems. Small vessel disease is the name given to the main cause of this diffuse blood vessel disease and it is now recognised to be the main cause of vascular dementia, and worsens cognitive function in mixed dementia with Alzheimer’s disease. The cause or nature of the vessel abnormality in small vessel disease has been controversial for some years, but recent in vivo human studies have helped to unravel the small vessel dysfunction, show how it damages the brain, and most recently led to clinical trials which now show promise for improving vascular function, preventing brain damage and reducing cognitive impairment, stroke and dependency. The lecture will address the causes and nature of the vascular abnormality and the latest information on potential therapies. These might also be relevant to the vascular dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders more widely.”   

The Wolstencroft Memorial Lecture 

John Wolstencroft was an international expert on the pharmacology of the brain. He carried out pioneering studies on chemical transmitters of brain neurone activity in 1960s. He held a personal chair in Physiology at the University of Birmingham. He was a founder member of the British Neuroscience Association and was its President from 1977-1980.

John Wolstencroft's early death in 1983 led his colleagues and family to set up a fund in 1986 to support a lecture to be given by a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to our understanding of workings of the brain.

The lecture is to be given biennially at the British Neuroscience National meeting. The purpose of the lecture is to communicate the most exciting and important advances in brain science. 

Wolstencroft Lecturers 
1986. Prof M Jouvet, France - Sleep
1988. Prof R Dubner, Pain, USA. 
1990. Prof A North, Purinergic transmission. UK 
1992. Prof A Basbaum, Pain, USA. 
1994. Prof G Augustine, USA Synaptic mechanisms
1996. Prof H Thoenen, Germany - Dendritic spine mechanisms 
1998, 2003. BNA joint meetings in Europe with ENA 
2005. Prof P Magistretti, Switzerland. 
2007. Prof C Wolf, USA 
2009. Prof Nancy Rothwell, Manchester UK Stroke
2017. Prof May-Britt Moser, Norwegian University of Science and Technology - Brain mechanisms for representing space
2019. Prof Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Vanderbilt University, USA - What good are more cortical neurons? Live longer and do more!
2021. Prof Jürgen Knoblich, Vienna - Using cerebral organoids to discover human-specific mechanisms of brain development
2023. Prof Joanna Wardlaw, University of Edinburgh - Vascular causes of neurodegeneration: risk factors, mechanisms, and potential treatments