Dr Claire Durrant
Race Against Dementia Dyson Fellow
Place of work / study:
Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences / UK Dementia Research Institute, University of Edinburgh
Area of Research:
My work focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of synapse loss in dementia causing disease such as Alzheimer’s disease. I am currently developing living human brain slices as a translational research tool.
How is your work funded:
I am funded through a fellowship from Race Against Dementia, as well as through grants from The James Dyson Foundation, The Alzheimer’s Society and Medical research Scotland.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Having done my undergrad (Natural Sciences), PhD and postdoc at the University of Cambridge, I made the move up to Scotland in 2019 to start my RAD fellowship. This fellowship has given me a unique opportunity to kick-start my independent career, working with some incredible dementia researchers and learning from some of the best minds in Formula One and industry. I live in the Edinburgh countryside with my husband, 1 year old son, and our two extremely fluffy cats. My spare time is usually spent out in nature, hiking in the beautiful Scottish countryside with my family.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I survived being driven by Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart (albeit in a golf cart!).
Why did you choose to work in dementia:
In my opinion, dementia is one of the biggest health challenges facing modern society. I have seen, in my own family, how it can impact both the person living with it, and the people who care deeply about them. I would love to see a world where a dementia can be prevented, halted or even reversed.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
People are your best asset. Connect with people at all levels, get a mentor, build a peer group, get to know the technical and admin staff at your place of work. The people around you can be your greatest source of joy when working in academia and can be your support network through good and bad times. When building your own team, really take the time to find the right people for the right job- it’s so important!
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
Oi Frog! By Kes Gray and Jim Field. I read it most nights. I could probably recite it to you. Receives a 10/10 from my 1 year old.