Profile – Dr Kirsty McAleese

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Dr Kirsty McAleese

Job Title:

Junior Research Fellow

Place of work / study:

Newcastle University

Area of research:

Neuropathology, white matter damage in dementia and MRI-pathology correlates in dementia

How is your work funded?

My Fellowship is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society and I have smaller projects funded by ARUK and the British Neuropathological Society.

Tell us a little about yourself:            

I have been working at Newcastle University for almost 8 years now. I completed my PhD at Newcastle in 2014 and continued on the research in white matter changes in Alzheimer’s disease as a Research Associate. I applied for an Alzheimer’s Society Junior Fellowship in 2017 and was successful (my interview was 2 days after getting married: I would not recommend this!) and I am almost one year through! The Fellowship has allowed me to expand my research into the diagnostic importance of white matter changes and develop new skills in cell biology. As part of my Fellowship I am collaborating with the neuropathology department from University California, Davis in the USA, so I have been fortunate enough to have a lab placement there in the summer of 2018. My main research is focussed on the underlying mechanisms of white matter changes in Alzheimer’s disease and we use donated brain tissue to investigate the pathological and biochemical changes. I am a very fortunate that my supervisor and the Newcastle Brain Tissue Resource have allowed me the opportunity to train in and perform (under supervision) brain dissections and the pathological diagnosis of donated brains – a skill that has proved very valuable in my research career.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:           

I am completely obsessed with the Real Housewives franchise.

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

Unlike most dementia scientists, it was luck that brought me into dementia research: I was being interviewed (unsuccessfully) for another PhD position, unrelated to dementia, and my supervisor was on the panel. He offered me a PhD post later that day and, as they say, the rest is history. I love working in this field as we have an opportunity to really make a difference to the lives of people living with dementia and for future generations.

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