Dr Charlie Arber
Senior Research Fellow
Place of work / study:
UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
Area of research:
Stem cell models of Alzheimer’s disease
How is your work currently funded:
NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a researcher using stem cells to look at how Alzheimer’s disease affects brain cells. Research participants donate skin cells to us in the lab and we can turn these into stem cells. Stem cells can then make any cell in the body and so we can make brain cells in a dish. In turn, these brain cells contain the same genes as the donor of the skin cells. Having human brain cells with the Alzheimer’s gene lets us see some of the early underlying effects of the disease and we can work at turning these changes around.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I used to have a dog called Sydney Arber (say it out loud)
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
Dementia is one of the greatest challenges to our society and it is growing. I believe that a better understanding of the disease at the basic biological levels is crucial to develop the next generation of drugs. By using stem cells in the lab, we can study the disease in human brain cells for the first time giving us exciting new opportunities to make new drugs that target specific aspects of Alzheimer’s disease.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
Learn from each experiment, it is not the end of the world when an experiment fails.
What are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
The Apollo Murders by astronaut Chris Hadfield