Profile – Dr James Dachtler

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Dr James Dachtler

Job Title:

Alzheimer’s Society Fellow/Assistant Professor (Research)

Place of work / study:

Durham University

Area of Research:

The effects of Alzheimer’s disease upon sociability

Tell us a little about yourself:

I did my BSc and PhD in Cardiff, where studied the role of synaptic proteins in neocortical plasticity. I moved to Leeds in 2011 to work with Steven Clapcote, and I was lucky enough to develop my own research, funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Royal Society and the British Pharmacological Society. I became increasingly interested in the neurobiology of social behaviour, and how it can go wrong, leading to social withdrawal. I saw that little research was being done on social withdrawal in dementia, so I obtained a fellowship from the Alzheimer’s Society to work on mechanisms underpinning this.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

My wife is also a scientist, and her work examines heart development and failure. We are now experimenting together, and are working towards aligning our research so we can achieve world domination!

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

I’ve worked for a while on the neurobiology of social behaviours, but I’m particularly interested in how social behaviour becomes impaired. I was previously working on autism, which is perhaps one of the most well know disorders affecting social behaviour. I was really interested in how social networks can protect against cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease, whilst social isolation is a risk factor for developing dementia. However, dementia is dominated by research into cognitive decline. I felt that I could use some of my previous experience to advance a research theme that receives comparatively little attention.


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