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29 September 2021

Targeting Blood-Brain Barrier dysfunctions in Dementia is a priority at the UK DRI in Edinburgh
Year by year, our knowledge of the fundamental biology behind dementia is improving and with it, progress made on promising new therapeutics. What has become most evident is the need to target the earliest stages of diseases like Alzheimer’s, to maximise impact and save as much of the brain as possible. A growing area of interest is the specialised blood vessel network surrounding the brain, the blood-brain barrier (BBB), whose dysfunction and breakdown is thought to be one of the initial events in several neurodegenerative diseases.

You can read here from UK DRI experts in the field including Profs. Wardlaw and Hardingham, Dr. Diaz-Castro, and myself: https://bit.ly/3CXB3w8


27 September 2021

SCOR Young European Research Prize!
Dr Axel Montagne, Group Leader at UK DRI at Edinburgh, has been awarded this year’s SCOR Young European Researcher Prize for his research on how cerebrovascular dysfunction contributes to neurodegeneration and cognitive impairment in animal models and humans.

The award jury, composed of renowned European researchers, was chaired by Pr. Jean-François Dartigues of the Bordeaux Population Health Research Center. Commenting on the award, André Levy-Lang, Chairman of the SCOR Foundation for Science, said: “Advances in Alzheimer’s disease research, which the SCOR Foundation has supported for many years, play a key role in managing the risks faced by older age groups”.

📰 Relevant links here:

👉🏻 Fondation Recherche Alzheimer: https://alzheimer-recherche.org/axel-montagne/
👉🏻 SCOR: https://www.scor.com/en/expert-views/scor-young-european-research-prize-research-alzheimers-disease
👉🏻 UK DRI: https://ukdri.ac.uk/news-and-events/dr-axel-montagne-receives-scor-young-european-researcher-prize
👉🏻 La Manche Libre: https://www.lamanchelibre.fr/actualite-957553-sante-maladie-d-alzheimer-un-chercheur-saint-lois-se-distingue
👉🏻 Ouest France: https://www.ouest-france.fr/normandie/saint-lo-50000/entretien-ce-chercheur-normand-espere-un-traitement-contre-alzheimer-d-ici-a-10-ans-4eeb7732-2081-11ec-aeab-7e1fbac55cd7
👉🏻 Leducq SVD Network: https://www.small-vessel-disease.org/news-events/dr-axel-montagne-awarded-the-scor-european-young-investigator-award-2021
👉🏻 Row Fogo Centre: https://www.ed.ac.uk/clinical-brain-sciences/research/row-fogo-centre/news-and-events/news/montagne-european-young-investigator-award


18 August 2021

MRC Career Development Award!
We are thrilled to announce that Axel Montagne has been awarded an MRC Career Development Award (CDA) fellowship for his project entitled “Interplay between brain endothelial cells and pericytes in brain health and disease”. The fellowship will start on the 1st of January 2022 and will run for 5 years. Of note, his Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Application was successful too.

This proposal has broader relevance to human SVD and AD where pericytes were shown to die early. The identification of modifiable pathways which contribute to vascular dysfunctions is a major focus of global efforts to tackle the vascular contribution to dementia. The outcome of this proposal will shine light on the cellular and molecular underpinnings of vascular dysfunctions leading to pericyte death. This will not only help to better understand the early pathophysiological processes, ultimately triggering neurodegeneration and dementia, but also help designing vascular-targeted treatment strategies to protect the brain in AD and SVD, and possibly others.


13 August 2021

Our BBB & MRI review article is in press today!
In collaboration with my longstanding collaborator Dr. Samuel Barnes (Loma Linda University) and Audrey Chagnot (PhD student in Vivien’s Lab at Université Caen Normandie), we wrote a review article in Neuroscience summarising all the recent contrast MRI studies reporting subtle BBB leakage in dementia, with a particular focus on Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral Small Vessel Disease, and including both clinical and pre-clinical studies.

📰 The article can be found here: https://bit.ly/3xb21Nw


31 July 2021

Dr. Montagne recognised as an Expertscape World Expert in the Blood-Brain Barrier!
The expertise of Axel Montagne ranks in the Top 0.014%, actually ranked 8th in the world.
… Of 59,202 published authors worldwide on Blood-Brain Barrier,
… From 2011 through 2021,
… Based on contributions to 18 articles on the topic.

📰 The link can be found here: https://expertscape.com/ex/blood-brain+barrier


28 July 2021

Our first review article is in press today!
In collaboration with Prof. Anna Williams and her PhD student Tessa Procter, we wrote a review in The American Journal of Pathology illustrating how cumulation of loss of endothelial-pericyte crosstalk is a major driving force in dementia pathology, with a particular focus on Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral Small Vessel Disease.

📰 The article can be found here: https://bit.ly/3xb21Nw


26 July 2021

The Montagne Lab would like to welcome Daniela (Dany) Jaime Garcia, first PhD Student!

  1. Tell us about yourself, your background, and what made you choose to do a PhD?
    My name is Daniela (Dany); I was born and raised in Mexico and had an interest in neuroscience from an early age. I obtained my undergraduate degree in Psychology and Neuroscience at Grinnell College (USA) and worked in a neurology rehabilitation clinic shortly after completing my studies. It was there that I was first exposed to the devastating consequences of stroke and vascular dementia, which further motivated me to pursue a research career.
    Since then, I have obtained a Stroke Medicine MSc at University College London and worked with Professor Joanna Wardlaw at the University of Edinburgh as a research assistant in clinical studies of small vessel disease (SVD). For me, this PhD represents an opportunity to contribute to research in an area I feel passionate about, whilst developing fundamental skills I will need to participate in future research projects aimed at improving the lives of patients living with vascular dementia.
  1. Why this University, this lab, and this project?
    Working on ways to facilitate the translation of neuroscience research from bench to bedside is a goal I feel strongly about. The University of Edinburgh offers a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment where pre-clinical and clinical researchers are in constant communication and research teams are comprised of scientists and clinicians alike. This project is also particularly appealing to me as it has pre-clinical and clinical components and is supervised by Prof. Wardlaw – a radiologist and clinical small vessel disease research expert, and Dr. Montagne – a scientist who has demonstrated a strong commitment to translational neuroscience throughout his career.
  1. Tell us about your specific research project?
    With Dr. Axel Montagne and Prof. Joanna Wardlaw as my supervisors, I plan to examine the role of capillary-enveloping pericytes in the development and progression of the blood-brain barrier breakdown observed in the early stages of SVD and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Using innovative animal models, in vivo imaging techniques and transcriptomics – as well as data from neuroimaging clinical studies – we aim to examine these aspects of SVD pathophysiology whilst bridging the gap between humans and animals.
  1. What would you like the impact of this project to be?
    Even though SVD is now known to be highly prevalent and an immense burden – to the patients, to their loved ones, and to society – the underlying causes and consequences of it remain poorly understood, and there are no effective treatments. My biggest hope would be to change the way we understand how SVD develops and progresses; more specifically, I want to understand what goes wrong in the earlier stages of the disease with the aim of finding potential pathways that can serve as promising therapeutic avenues to stop it from progressing.
  1. What do you plan to do after you complete your PhD?
    I am committed to a career path in stroke and dementia research; whether this will mainly include pre-clinical or clinical research (or perhaps both), remains to be seen. With the emergence of the UK Dementia Research Institute and other strong, interconnected networks of collaborating scientists working towards the same goal, it is undeniably an exciting time to be involved. Stay tuned!

7 July 2021

This is our new lab logo!
It nicely depicts the science being done in the lab and emphasises the importance of keeping healthy blood vessels to keep your brain healthy.
It basically represents a human brain (top view) with the left hemisphere being healthy and the right hemisphere degenerating due to dementia. There is also a cross-sectional view of a capillary vessel which includes a pericyte wrapping around the endothelium. This vessel is damaged as shown by a drop of blood leaking out into the brain. It reflects the growing body of evidence supporting the involvement of early BBB dysfunction in the development and progression of common dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease and cerebral Small Vessel Disease.

It was an absolute pleasure working with the talented Ella Marushchenko. Quick turn-around, high quality artwork, and reasonable cost. Please visit her website ellamarustudio.com. I highly recommend her 😊


14 June 2021

Axel’s last postdoc article as a first author published in Nature Aging
This study not only sheds light on how the APOE4 gene may cause some of the pathologies associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but also suggests a new treatment target (i.e., Alisporivir) that might help people who carry the APOE4 gene in early and late stages of the disease. We found that APOE4 is associated with the activation of an inflammatory protein, Cyclophilin A, that causes a breakdown in the blood-brain barrier which protects the brain.

📰 The article can be found here: https://go.nature.com/3xhBezx

And media coverage there: https://bit.ly/3pRxjXD


23 May 2021

Run the Network Challenge
The idea was to run/walk/cycle/swim over 500 miles to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK)!

To help support ARUK, the Scotland Network took part in a fundraising challenge to coincide with Dementia Action Week (17th-23rd May). The ARUK Scotland Network is a group of research scientists based at Scottish Universities who are dedicated in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/research/for-researchers/network-centres/scotland-network-centre/).

The challenge was called ‘Run the Network’ and our aim was to accumulatively virtually run (or walk, cycle, swim or any other form of exercise!) the distance between all the Universities in our Network as a group.

Our route is 813 km (just over 500 miles!), starting at the University of Dundee, going up the coast to Aberdeen, across to the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness, taking the scenic route down to Glasgow to say hello to our colleagues at Glasgow Caledonian University, University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow via the University of Stirling, across the central belt to Edinburgh to see everyone at Napier, Heriot Watt, The University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret University, before heading into Fife to St Andrews University, and the final stretch back to the University of Dundee to complete the challenge.

Our team (30+ researchers) has completed an incredible 1193.4 miles over 7 days and raised more than £3,000 🎉

You can support these efforts to raise even more money for an incredible charity: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runthenetwork


16 May 2021

Axel’s postdoc article published in Neuron journal in 2015 reached 1,000 citations today!

By imaging the living human brains, we showed an age-dependent blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown in the hippocampus, a region critical for learning and memory, which worsened with cognitive decline and correlated with BBB-associated injury to pericytes.

📰 The article can be found here: https://bit.ly/3byr3OG


12 April 2021

A special edition as guest editor for Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
We have launched a new Research Topic, “Vascular Inflammation in Aging and Neurodegeneration”.

Topic Editors:
– Dr. Donghui Zhu, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, United States
– Dr. Axel Montagne, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
– Dr. Zhen Zhao, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, United States

Visit the homepage for this Research Topic for a full description of the project:
📰 https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/19510/vascular-inflammation-in-aging-and-neurodegeneration

This is a great opportunity to have your research published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, a leading journal in its field. With an Impact Factor of 4.362 and CiteScore of 6.3, it advances understanding of central nervous system ageing and age-related neural diseases.

The submission deadline for this Research Topic is 31 December 2021.


12 April 2021

A special edition as guest editor for Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
We have launched a new Research Topic, “Multifaceted interactions between immunity and the diseased brain”.

Topic Editors:
– Dr. Sandro Dá Mesquita, Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, United States
– Dr. Axel Montagne, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
– Dr. Kristen E Funk, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, United States
– Dr. Ana Luisa Mendanha Falcao, Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, School of Medicine, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal

Visit the homepage for this Research Topic for a full description of the project:
📰 https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/16559/multifaceted-interactions-between-immunity-and-the-diseased-brain

This is a great opportunity to have your research published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, a leading journal in its field. With an Impact Factor of 3.921 and CiteScore of 5.4, it advances understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying cell function in the nervous system across all species. 

The submission deadline for this Research Topic is 31 May 2021.


7 April 2021

The Montagne Lab has launched a new website and Twitter handle (@MontagneLab).

📰 https://www.ed.ac.uk/clinical-brain-sciences/research/row-fogo-centre/news-and-events/news/montagne-lab-launched-a-new-website


27 January 2021

Edinburgh Imaging would like to welcome Dr. Axel Montagne, Chancellor’s Fellow, to the University.

📰 https://www.ed.ac.uk/clinical-sciences/edinburgh-imaging/news/2021-news/27-jan-21-welcome-dr-axel-montagne