Young researcher awarded large grant for FTD research


The postdoc Emma Gerrits in Jan Mulders HPA related research group at KI has recently, as the youngest person ever, received a 1.2 MSEK grant from Alzheimerfonden for research on the development of Frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

FTD is one of the most common forms of dementia in persons younger than 65 years, with around 30% of the patients having a strong family history, and the primary pathology is related to the accumulation of the protein TDP-43 (TARDBP). Two years ago, there was a major scientific breakthrough when researchers used single cell transcriptomics to study brain cells from patients that had died from FTD and found that vascular cells and astrocytes were strongly affected by the disease but that the microglia were almost normal.

Emma will now use spatial transcriptomics to analyse frontal, temporal and occipital cortex samples from FTD patients and compare them with sex -and age matched tissue samples to further advance the research conducted by her colleagues. The hope is to understand more about the cell types in the samples, their expression profiles, how they communicate and how they are related to the development of FTD. The long-term goal is to discover biomarkers for the disease that can aid in diagnosis and drug development.